Yesterday Ireland became the first country in the world to legislate for same sex marriage based on the popular vote of the people. And the people of Ireland have spoken loud and clear and given a resounding YES to inclusivity, to acceptance, to equality and to love. The people of Ireland have listened to and been guided by the wisdom and love in their own hearts, rightly bypassing the doctrinal religious teachings that in the past would have been the source of their guidance for such decisions.
The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has stated that the church needs a ‘reality check’ in light of the result and the overwhelming support for gay marriage that has directly contravened the teachings and advice of the religious leaders in Ireland.
Perhaps, it is time for the church to wake up, to listen to and learn from the people – the people who are in fact showing a true example of the love of God in action compared to those who are preaching from the pulpits against gay marriage; which is to be against equality, against inclusivity and against love. To be against love is to be against God – for God is love – and that love knows that every human being on the planet is equal.
For far too long gay people have been marginalized, outcast, downtrodden, rejected, abused, vilified, ridiculed and even killed – all because they love people of the same gender! It is absurd and ridiculous to say the least that a human being can be subject to such hateful abuse – all because they love another person of the same sex. That it has taken until 2015 for this to become obvious is an indictment of the religious teachings that have promulgated homophobia in their teachings and of us as people who listened and adhered to them.
Given that homosexuality was only decriminalized in Ireland just over 20 years ago – shows that great strides have been made since then to have a majority of the population voting in favour of gay marriage in the recent referendum. The fall of the Catholic church in Ireland due to the child abuse scandals and more has helped remove the wool from people’s eyes and to see that the church and its leaders are not infallible paragons of virtue – and that their authority as a source of moral and ethical guidance has been seriously jeopardized. It has given the people the opportunity to listen to their own wisdom, unfettered by the deeply harming and separative teachings of the church. Rather than go by the teachings of the institutionalized religion, it seems to me that people are being guided by the wisdom of their own hearts, by their own love, by the God that lives within their own being – a relationship that could be called true religion. Equality is a cornerstone of love – without equality there is no true love. God loves all equally and it is our call to do likewise and the people of Ireland have taken a grand step in expressing that love for all equally by supporting gay marriage.
This too was emulated in the decision by the judge to find Asher’s bakery guilty of discrimination against the gay man in the case I commented on recently. A victory for justice, equality and for love. The bakery are now only going to make cakes for babies and birthdays in order to avoid having to make cakes that support gay marriage. This is where the difference between the love of Christ that loves all irrespective of gender, sexuality, creed, race or any other identifier and Christianity as organised religion is all too clear.
The real evil here that needs to be exposed are the religious teachings that feed people the absolute lies that being gay is an ‘abomination’, is evil, is a sin, is against God, is punishable by being sent to hell and a host of other religious teachings that serve to denigrate and dehumanize gay people, to make them feel guilty for being born and being who they are. The cost of such teachings is unfathomable – for so long gay people have been forced to lead secret lives, have been inculcated to feel guilt and shame for being who they are, have become addicted to alcohol or drugs as a way of numbing their pain, have taken their own lives or been killed by others along with the endless list of abuses they have endured. When the truth is the opposite of that promulgated by institutionalised religion – being gay is not an abomination, it is the true expression of love for many, and is to be accepted, nurtured and cherished as such. It is in no way an affront to God or against God – God is love and it is through love that we come to know God – whether that love is for a person of the same gender or not. The gender in that sense is irrelevant – what matters is the quality of the love. Is it a love that is all encompassing, open, accepting, understanding, allowing that sees and knows all are equal?
Whilst I greatly appreciate and celebrate the people of Ireland for taking a step in the direction of love and equality – there is work to be done! Northern Ireland needs to follow suit but is significantly curtailed and restrained by the false religious teachings that many of the country’s politicians adhere too. Such is the strength of their patriarchal superiority they think they know better than the people and have refused thus far to hold a similar referendum in the North. The day will come when gay marriage is legalized in Northern Ireland – it is just a matter of how long we have to wait for the dinosaurs to become extinct once more!
Furthermore, in terms of equality, there are the issues of women’s rights and access to abortion to contend with both north and south of the border. So let us not get too complacent just yet – the day is yet to come when women in Ireland are held as autonomous and equal individuals who have the power to make decisions over their own bodies without the patronizing patriarchal constrictions and restrictions that are currently in place.
So well done Ireland for recognising, honouring and acknowledging the equality of our gay brothers and sisters across this land and the wider world. May it set an example that other countries and people follow such that no man or woman should ever need to hide, or feel guilt or shame for being who they are or live in fear of being who they are and expressing their love for another human being of the same sex ever again.