Working it out: Let's make gay marriage legal... ASAP
Reposted from Independent: http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/working-it-out-lets-make-gay-marriage-legal-asap-29758667.html
IT is not that long ago since hardly anybody in Ireland knew anyone who was open about being homosexual. There may have been one or two in Dublin and they were probably in the theatrical profession. The word "gay" did not exist and "queer" was more likely to be used. Despite spending six years in a school with over 500 pupils, I would have been absolutely certain as I sat my Leaving Cert that every single one of the pupils and teachers I encountered was heterosexual. Over the years I have, of course, come to realise that this was not precisely the case.
In the liberal climes of Trinity Collegethere were those few who dared to pin their colours to the mast. It was illegal at the time, but even back then the notion of prosecuting someone for their sexuality seemed absurd.
One early college summer a friend and I headed for the US. With long hair and thin bodies we must have seemed quite beautiful to anyone who cared to look!
In Washington DC we were offered accommodation by a friendly man. It didn't take us long to cop that we were the only heterosexuals in the house and our landlord, Lee, bemoaned the terrible waste we were.
He had thought we were a couple, which shows some gays have very faulty gaydar. Throughout that summer, we got to know Lee and Ed and their various friends. They happily described themselves as "queer". Lee and Ed were as much a couple as our parents were. We discovered, not that it came as any massive surprise to us, that a homosexual couple were just as ordinary as a heterosexual one. It was probably not a bad lesson for two young Irish lads to witness up close.
For years, in Ireland, I, and just about everyone I knew, were on the losing side of every social battle. Slowly, very slowly, politicians developed the balls to stand up to the Church. And equally slowly, cowed parishioners began to think for themselves. And so over the years contraception became the norm, as did sex before marriage, legalisation of homosexuality, acceptance of divorce, and increasing acceptance of abortion. Even Mass-going Catholics ignored the teachings of their Church on these issues. And they did this even before the Church had disgraced itself with the sexual conduct of those who purported to set the standards. They are mostly what I think of as "emotional" or "it is part of what I grew up with" Catholics. On the above issues, they couldn't care less what the Church teaches.
Probably as recently as five years ago I would not have known what to think about same-sex marriage. I would have assumed that civil partnership would take care of any outstanding issues dealing with finance, succession, seriously ill partners, public commitment, and I wouldn't have been too sure what the situation was about adoption. I did not pay a lot of attention to calls for same-sex marriage.