Seanad debates

Friday, 27 March 2015

An Bille um an gCeathrú Leasú is Tríocha ar an mBunreacht (Comhionannas Pósta) 2015: Céim an Choiste - Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015: Committee Stage


10:30 am

Photo of Rónán MullenRónán Mullen (Independent) | Oireachtas source

That is not a promise. Senator White could possibly learn a thing or two from him as well. Senator Barrett might very well be right in what he says, and I would like to be associated with the general feeling of positivity he has towards people. I and others have made it very clear that whatever reservations we have about this proposal, we want a culture where there is complete love and respect for people, gay people included, and respect for people's private lives and personal commitments. That is not what this issue is about. What Senator Barrett has said has left me with a question: are people entitled to a different point of view? As I said before he came in, it is not the people whose views one agrees with whose freedom of speech one should be concerned about. It is the people one disagrees with. It is precisely at the moment when one is most repelled by somebody else's point of view that the question arises as to whether they should be free to go their own way. What is at issue here is that people will not be free to go their own way. Some people are even willing to forego business, and most business people are quite conscious of the bottom line. If they are troubled by being publicly associated with something with which they disagree, should they not be free to dissociate themselves? The right to freedom of association in our Constitution surely implies a freedom to dissociate. I am raising the concern that this amendment will probably encroach upon that freedom. It is a problem with the political parties generally, because they are so fused and dominated by groupthink that they do not get the right of individuals, generally speaking, to go their own way. That is why Senator Jim Walsh is an Independent here today.


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