Young Fine Gael votes in support of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry
This time last year, at the Young Fine Gael Summer School, I proposed the motion, “This Summer School supports allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry”. It was defeated, two votes short of a majority. Yesterday, now as YFG Director of Policy, I proposed the same motion, and it passed overwhelmingly with, I think, two votes against. This is what I said in the two minutes I had to speak,
Those of you at summer school last year, or I’ve talked to since or last night on this, know this is important to me.
For me, this is fundamentally about the hope I might settle down one day into happily married life, hopefully in a lifelong relationship. The same reasons anyone wants to marry.
Studies on this, and just plain common sense, will tell you those who are married in committed relationships live longer, healthier and happier lives. Of course having a constant, loving companion can be such a comfort in life, there for each other, for better for worse, in sickness and in health.
In voting in favour, you simply acknowledge the care and love a couple show each other should be recognised in a way they believe best reflects their commitment.
We’re now ten years since gay couples in a growing number of places around the world first had the opportunity to marry. How could allowing more people commit to each other send anything but a positive message about the value of marriage?
As to children, don’t forget there are currently children in Ireland being raised by gay couples; it would give them too added security and protection if their parents could marry, such as in a situation if anything was to happen to their birth parent, where under current law their other parent would currently be treated as a stranger.
There is civil partnership. But these beneficial effects have so much a firmer backing with the authority and tradition of marriage. Further, justice requires conditions of people’s lives determined by government be provided equally for all.
This has proved successful in other countries; it will enhance the comfort and security of gay couples, it will make gay children and teenagers growing up in Ireland feel more included in society; it will provide Constitutional support as well to children being raised by gay couples, and it will give peace of mind to the parents and wider family of gay people. With all this, I really think there is no social benefit in preventing me and others from marrying.
It was followed by an excellent speech from Maeve Howe, chair of Dublin South-East YFG, who stressed that this is a human rights issue, not an LGBT issue, and then by an informed discussion from the floor. It was also supported earlier in the day in an address from local TD Seán Kyne, who picked the motion out as one we should support.
There were other motions this weekend which I was proud of, which I will summarize tomorrow. There have been some great moments since I became active in the party in autumn 2009. But the support the motion received yesterday, such a reversal in twelve months, was one of the most satisfying for me at a very personal level, and something I was proud to play a part in.
Here below is a list of all motions in the general policy section of Summer School:
- This Summer School calls for the development of a viable nuclear power option for Ireland. – Defeated
- This Summer School calls for the removal of the offence of blasphemy as it is contrary to the ethos of free speech and assembly, which every modern republic should strive for. – Carried
- This Summer School calls for the privatisation of CIÉ. – Defeated
- This Summer School calls for newly trained teachers to be given priority for substitution over retired teachers. – Carried
- This Summer School calls on the Government to lower the corporation tax rate to 8.2%, bringing it in line with the average effective rate of corporation tax in France. – Defeated
- This Summer School calls on the Government to suspend Overseas Development Aid for the duration of EU/IMF programme. – Defeated
- This Summer School supports allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. – Carried
- This Summer School calls on the Government to exempt renewable energy from budget cuts. –Carried
- This Summer School opposes changing Sunday pay arrangements in Joint Labour Committee agreements. – Defeated
- This Summer School calls for the introduction of compulsory Information Technology modules to Junior Certificate and Transition Year as well as the introduction of a full Information and Communication Technology subject at Leaving Certificate. – Carried
- This Summer School calls for a cap on public sector pensions of €50,000 a year. – Defeated