Re: Irish Times article, Breda O’Brien, 25/05/2015

With the celebrations of the Yes side now coming to a close and the nation returning slowly to normalcy this Monday morning, the majority on both sides of this hard-fought campaign are impeccable in their behaviour. Both Senator Ronan Mullen and David Quinn have been remarkably gracious in defeat, in both old media and new. For the most part a 62/38 victory is enough of a margin of victory to satisfy – or at least placate – the vast majority of opponents. Aside from some mildly unfair slagging of Roscommon for being the only county to vote no, it’s all been fairly positive on the Yes side too. But fear not! There will always be some voice of tireless, dour whining in the Irish press just days after a defeat. This year it’s Breda O Brien, who apparently wasted absolutely no time in trotting out the same fallacious guff she’s been spouting all year, apart from the 2 week break she took to avoid stepping up to debate Panti  to recover from bronchitis. Here are a few of the real gems from today’s rant:

‘734,300 No voters are just as generous and inclusive as those who voted Yes’

Unless of course you’re referring to the generosity of actually voting for a more inclusive society.

They are just as generous and inclusive as their neighbours who voted Yes, and just as fond of their gay relatives. In fact, some of them are gay themselves.

Yes. Two of them. Paddy Manning and Keith Mills. I’ve spent the last month asking the Iona members to name a third homosexual opposed to marriage equality. They’re yet to respond.

People who voted No recognise marriage as the place where society celebrates sexual and gender differences as deeply embedded features of the human condition, primarily – although by no means exclusively – because it produces children. They wanted to preserve that in our social structures and law.

I’ll give her this much credit, she’s managed to offend or insult more people per column inch with increasing efficiency as the year has progressed. The idea that marriage equality precludes gender differences is one of the most tired, most relied-upon, and most laughable lies of the entire No campaign, which I’ve covered already in an earlier post.  The line about producing children is almost as offensive to unmarried parents as it is to childless spouses. But let’s do our best to pretend they don’t exist, right Breda?

the soft coverage of gay icons and celebrities and “human interest” stories pushing the Yes side have been going on for years, with the enthusiastic collusion of the media.

Again, Paddy Manning and Keith Mills being trotted out with near-ubiquity on YouTube in the week before the vote was what, exactly, if not human interest? The piece by the woman raised by two women that missed her dad, was that not an attempt to appeal to the same heartstrings through pathos? The obscene use of pictures of children to try and emotionally manipulate us into voting No, who was that again Breda?  And this enthusiastic collusion of the media you speak about, from your Irish Times column on a Monday morning while David Quinn puts his out in the Independent, have you truly not yet realised you speak from a pulpit of influence as large as anyone’s?

We do not have to admire Government Ministers who talked about damaging the gay people’s mental health if we voted No.

The same Government presided over the disintegration of mental health services – everything from removing guidance counsellors from school, often the first to pick up serious problems – to decimating the psychiatric services. The hypocrisy is stunning.

Clearly it’s the big evil government again, out to destroy homosexuals by cutting the health service budget. What you seem to be saying here is that you want them to do more damage to gay people.

We do not have to admire a political system that ignored 734,300 voters, aside from six brave TDs and Senators who dared to be different.

They weren’t ignored. They voted. They were outnumbered. They lost. And the vast majority of them accept that, because they’re more interested in democracy than dogma. As for the lack of Dail representation, why not run yourself, Breda? Obviously the support is there for hard-right Christian demagogues in elected office. That’s probably why Senators Fidelma, Jim and Ronan had to be appointed instead of elected and Deputy McGrath’s constituency passed the referendum by 5 to 3.

It was a fantasy to suggest that the referendum would extend marriage to same-sex couples and then give them no way to have children.

Same-sex couples already have children. Hundreds of them. This referendum didn’t change that in the slightest.

We have damaged irreparably the connection between marriage and a child’s right to know and be cared for by the two people who each give them half of their biological, social and familial identity.

That’s a fascinating approach to take, given the numerous adoptive parents that are also vocal members of the No campaign. Are they, too, denying their children access to their biological parents? Must we pretend that heterosexual couples don’t adopt or use surrogacy? Or would that just not fit the narrative?

(If you’re a sufferer of high blood pressure or are easily enraged, you may want to skip the next quote)

Some day, there will be a young Irish woman wandering the streets of Copenhagen. She will have been raised by her lesbian mother and her partner, both of whom she loves dearly, and who are great mothers.

But she also has a deep longing to know the other half of herself, her father, and simple things like whether she got her love for music or the shape of her hands from him. All she knows is her father was a Danish sperm donor. She has no idea how many half-siblings she has. She is in contact online with other sperm donor children, some of whom have 150 half-siblings.

Her father’s address, given when he sold his sperm, is long out of date. So she wanders, looking at Danish faces, wondering, is that man my sperm donor father? Could that be a half-sibling?

Children of surrogacy unsure as to whether they have half-siblings or not, eh? Well, for anyone in Ireland whose father was sexually active 35 years ago, the same question has to be asked, doesn’t it? Particularly since the conservative christian hatchet crews kept contraception illegal here until 1980. So in fact anyone above a certain age may have half-siblings out there. Of course, we don’t know, because the gangs of priests and nuns sent out to take these children from their parents and sell them, while moving their mothers into slave labour camps to be abused didn’t keep open written records either, did they? Still, let’s not play up the “human interest” stories, eh Breda?

(Original article)

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