I had a letter published in today’s Irish Times:
A chara, – Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh writes (July 20th) that there’s surely a reason that most marriages throughout history have been between a man and a woman. There is. Most people are heterosexual. That this is true of the majority of people is not a good enough reason to deny what will always be a small minority of couples a chance to make the same commitment to each other.
In any of the 11 countries and six US states that now allow all couples to marry, naturally marriages between a man and a woman remain the norm, and are unaffected in their marriages by the change. How could allowing more people commit to each other send anything but a positive message about the value of marriage?
Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry will enhance their comfort and security, 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, anyone opposed should really feel obliged to provide more than a semantic objection. – Is mise,
Bray, Co Wicklow.
Published in The Irish Times, 29 May 2012
A chara, – Seán L’Estrange (May 28th) voices concern about the wording of the amendment. He will be reassured to know that the wording is no different to the form that has routinely been used to allow the State to ratify European treaties. In 1972, we voted to insert a new Article 29.4.3°, “The State may become a member of the European Coal and Steel Community (established by Treaty signed at Paris on the 18th day of April, 1951), the European Economic Community (established by Treaty signed at Rome on the 25th day of March, 1957) and the European Atomic Energy Community (established by Treaty signed at Rome on the 25th day of March, 1957). No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the Communities, or institutions thereof, from having the force of law in the State.”
On Thursday, we are being asked to ratify only the treaty agreed on March 2nd of this year. Any further changes which would conflict with our Constitution would have to be put to the people, as was done seven times between 1972 and this year’s referendum, on each occasion with a similar form of words. – Is mise,
Bray, Co Wicklow.
In his assertion that Glee perpetuates a stereotype, Dylan (Letters, Issue 265) betrays a prejudice of his own, in his case against effeminate gay men. Perhaps it’s time for a new awareness slogan, “Some gay men like musicals – get over it”. For someone who seems to be a keen viewer of Glee, Dylan ignored the fact that Kurt was passed over for the male lead in West Side Story by his boyfriend, Blaine. He also ignores how Kurt’s father in that episode encourages him to be himself, not to conform to the perception of what a real man is, and to assert his true self, “What is wrong with any of that? It’s who you are. I say, if they’re not writing movies and plays for performers like you, then you’ve got to start writing your own. C’mon man, you’re awesome. Write your own history.”
Glee portrays diversity between its gay, lesbian and bisexual characters, between Kurt, the more butch Blaine, the closeted bully Karofsky, Santana now coming out and Brittany almost oblivious to why others care if she’s with a boy or a girl.
Dylan and others should also remember why the older stereotype arose. In the past, those like Blaine or Karofsky found it easy to pass for straight, while someone like Kurt, who even another gay man describes as prancing, couldn’t help but stand out.
But it was because of their presence that the public at large couldn’t pretend that gay people didn’t exist.
Now that full legal equality is within sight, it would a remaining social injustice if we were to continue the claim that effeminate men are not real men.
SIR – You said that unlike Elizabeth II, Henry II did not receive an invitation to Ireland (“Irish, and British, eyes are smiling”, May 21st). This is not quite accurate.
The Norman invasion of Ireland was instigated at the invitation of Diarmaid Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, who was dispossessed of land by the High King of Ireland, Ruaidhri Ó Conchobair. Diarmaid met Henry II in Aquitaine in 1166. Henry agreed to send a force led by Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke (nicknamed Strongbow), who was married to Aoife, Diarmaid’s daughter. They arrived in 1169, and when a dispute arose over the succession to Leinster on Diarmaid’s death in 1171, Henry II claimed fealty of the entire island of Ireland.
Naturally, this invitation from Diarmaid for foreign assistance started centuries of English involvement in Ireland, and it has earned Diarmaid a place of infamy in the gallery of rogues of Irish history.
Bray, County Wicklow
I had a letter published in today’s Irish Times, in response to Breda O’Brien’s article on Saturday, “Genuinely tolerant society will not be a cold house for religion”.
A chara, – Breda O’Brien writes that “how we handle gay rights versus religious rights will determine whether we become a polarised society that is a cold house for religion, or a genuinely tolerant society”.
Implicit in this comparison is a faulty assumption these rights fall under equivalent categories. Ms O’Brien might plausibly contrast religious views of society against secular views, both being deeply held outlooks.
However, the same cannot be said of gay rights, which are a recognition of an innate characteristic. In classical liberal terms, the rights afforded to religion are derived from freedom of speech and association, and in a pluralist society we should naturally be respectful of differences in such matters, whereas the rights recognised for gay people are a matter of equality before the law, which surely ranks higher in any estimation of rights. – Is mise,
Bray, Co Wicklow.
Published in The Irish Times, 17 August 2009, while working for Ireland for Europe
A chara, – Roger Cole’s article (Opinion, August 13th) outlined Ireland’s tradition of neutrality over the years, but not once does he mention the United Nations.
He neglects that fact that since joining the UN in 1955, Ireland has secured a reputation as a reliable force for peacekeeping. Whether in the Congo, Lebanon, East Timor or Liberia, we have been rightly proud of the contribution Irish troops have made. Traditionally, the UN managed such combat groups directly, but increasingly the UN delegates modern crisis management missions to regional operations, such as the EU. Most recently, the Irish Defence Forces have been taking part in the peacekeeping operations in Chad. While directed by European Union through EUfor, it is entirely in line with UN policy.
Indeed, Government policy does not allow our Defence Forces to take part in any action not sanctioned by the UN, and this has been recognised by the other 26 EU member-states in the international agreement which secured with our recent guarantees. Rather than interfering with our military traditions, the EU will in fact allow us to continue to develop the role we have shaped for ourselves internationally. – Is mise,
Bray, Co. Wicklow
Sir, I enjoyed Matthew Parris’s article (“Of course Tintin’s gay. Ask Snowy”, Jan 7).
I was a little disappointed, however, that he seems not to have taken to check all his facts. Contrary to what he writes, there is no uncertainty over where Tintin and Haddock meet – it was in the ship the latter was captain of in The Crab with the Golden Claws. It is not in this book that Tintin moves into Marlinspike, but he has done so without exposition by the beginning of Destination Moon. And rather than being in the unfinished Tintin and Alph-Art that he wore the CND badge on his helmet, this is in Tintin and the Picaros, the last completed book.