Ireland: Hello, brother

The citizens of Ireland have sanctified gay marriage in their constitution.

Almost two-thirds of voters favored the amendment. Two-thirds. Two-thirds of the most Catholic population on Earth. Two-thirds.

Many things hearten me about this.

At the most selfish level, I want to marry another woman. I want my marriage to be recognized and celebrated.

At a public level, I am gratified that a broad public not only tolerates but accepts and even celebrates my love.

But most heartening is the civility of the Catholic Church’s stance on the referendum. The Church had the opportunity to demonstrate that, whatever its teachings on homosexual acts, hatred and discrimination against gays is wrong, a sin, contrary to God’s will and Church doctrine.

The Church took that opportunity and made good on it.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, kept the Church out of the campaign. Although he personally would vote No, he said, “Marriage isn’t just about two people falling in love. It’s a much more complex. My voting No is not a vote against gay and lesbian people.”

And he backed it up by rebuking priests and bishops who were more intemperate.

True, a lobbying organization of Catholics was the loudest opponent of the amendment. But it was individuals, not the Church.

Its arguments were pathetically self-defeating. The notion that gays cannot be good parents, that their children are somehow stunted, is belied every day.

In the end, was it the fallacy – the obvious wrongheadedness – of that very argument in the face of gay couples’ commitment to love and the truest of family values? Was it His answer to the prayer for the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer?

Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.


Finally, I am most heartened that it supports my belief that our most important battle is won when people – traditionalists, conservatives, fundamentalists – see us not as aliens, but as fellow humans.

Perhaps I’m Pollyanaish. Perhaps I have Stockholm Syndrome. But I have a more intimate knowledge of those who oppose gay marriage than my urban sophisticate friends.

I come from a place where homosexuality does not exist. My Love and I are probably the first out lesbians that most people in our home counties have ever met.

Two-thirds of the citizens of my home state voted for the opposite constitutional provision: that marriage is between a man and a woman. My Love and I come from the most conservative, most rural parts of one of the most conservative, rural states. Almost everyone we know voted in favor of the amendment.

I can’t demonize opponents of gay marriage. They are people, too. My people. They may not understand me, but they don’t hate me. Where I’m from, Westboro Baptist Church is hated far more than a gay couple.

Since my Love came out, she has had nothing but acceptance. Since I came out, I have had nothing but acceptance.

There’s a lot of curiosity – some of it pretty silly – but that is a good thing. Curiosity is incompatible with knee-jerk hate. People don’t try to understand something they hate. People are curious about something they want to understand.


I don’t have a grand agenda.

I just want people to see that He formed me of the same dust of the ground. He breathed into my nostrils the same breath of life, the same living soul. He created me in His image, too. He knows that it is not good that I should be alone, either. He has made a help meet for me, too.

Hath not a lesbian eyes? hath not a lesbian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?

I want to be seen to have the same yearnings, the same hopes, the same fears as straight people.

A man wants to work for his pay.
A man wants a place in the sun.
A man wants a gal proud to say
That she’ll become his lovin’ wife.
He wants a chance to give his kids a better life, yes
Well hello, hello, hello brother

A gal wants to work for her pay.
A gal wants a place in the sun.
A gal wants a gal proud to say
That she’ll become her lovin’ wife.
She wants a chance to give her kids a better life, yes
Well hello, hello, hello brother