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 Jim WalshJim Walsh (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I feel that if I said something was white, the Minister would say it is black. I was interested in a very thoughtful and cogent contribution from Senator Zappone, on which I commend her. It probably reflects the generality of the contributions she makes in this House. She said, and I disagree with her, that the description of marriage equality is accurate. I do not believe it is, and I will come to that shortly. She said something also which resonated somewhat with me, namely, that the constitutional recognition of the relationship that she and others who have the orientation is something she aspires to and that she believes she is entitled to. I have difficulty arguing with the Senator on that. In that regard, why not look at some sort of constitutional recognition for civil partnership, which would create a situation where children who arise in those relationships would also be covered? I would also say to the Minister that civil partnership has practically all the rights.As I stated on Second Stage and when this issue rose in 2010, I opposed this civil partnership model because it was analogous to marriage. Will the Minister outline just one substantive difference that her proposed change will make for people in gay relationships other than having gay marriage included in the Constitution? That could be done by including civil partnership in the Constitution.

I take a different view, and I have explained my motivations for that. Same-sex relationships, by virtue of nature and biology, will always be different, but they should be respected in their own right. The obvious natural differences will endure regardless of any redefinition of marriage. This is a fundamental redefinition of marriage, regardless of what the Minister claims. The complementarity of male and female and procreation as a couple consummating marriage comprise a fundamental distinction that will not change. There are absolute, fundamental, natural and biological differences between the relationships, not between individuals. It is in the area of individuals that equality should apply, but we are discussing relationships.

I do not want to set red herrings running in the debate. I take on board what Senator Zappone said about ideology, as we all come with our own ideological thoughts on the matter. However, I have noticed a strong, well resourced, well funded and aggressive radical feminist agenda internationally. It probably emanated from the US. It is amazing. I have spoken with feminists in the US who are strongly pro-life. Feminism arose in the early part of the last century for good reasons. Women were seriously disadvantaged in all societies, including on these islands. The feminists of that era championed the right to life, but they do not now. Radical feminists are mostly in favour of abortion or even gendercide. At the time, feminists were strongly opposed to slavery. That is interesting. As such, ideologies need to be challenged-----


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