Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Irish Referendum On Same-Sex Marriage Will Be Held Friday

In Ireland on Friday voters will cast ballots in a referendum to approve same-sex marriage. (Referendum Commission Voters Guide). Voters will be asked to approve a Constitutional amendment which reads:
Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.
Sunday's Globe and Mail reports that polls show 70% favor the proposal, even though it is strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. 84% of Irish identify ans Catholic, and almost half go to mass every Sunday. According to yesterday's Irish Independent, Irish bishops are warning that passage of the amendment could threaten the Church's ability to teach children about traditional marriage. However Communications Minister Alex White rejected that claim, saying: "There is absolutely no basis whatsoever for any suggestion that the Church ...would be constricted or constrained in any way,... A specific provision in the legislation we're going to bring in if and when the referendum is passed would mean a Catholic priest, for example, will not be required to solemnise for example, the marriage of a same-sex couple."

Meanwhile, each side in the referendum issue is accusing the other of accepting improper campaign donations.  According to Saturday's Guardian, supporters of the referendum accuse opponents of receiving funding from conservative Christian groups in the United States. Ireland’s Standards in Public Office Commission rules bar foreign donations in the campaign.  A website operated by the US-based National Organization for Marriage is campaigning for a "no" vote, but NOM says it has not funneled any money to groups in Ireland.  Some on the "no" side claim that supporters have been funded by Irish-American multimillionaire Chuck Feeney and his Atlantic Philanthropies agency