Monday, May 4, 2015

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child



A guest post by the talented Joanne Duffy of Oriental Cutlery.

Hey Dave, how’s it going?

So I’ve just been watching this video that I found of you speaking against marriage equality, while 6 signs for YES EQUALITY that got ripped down in Galway are sitting in my house waiting to be put back up by the tireless campaigners here. You know all about tireless campaigning, I’m sure.
 
So, you said that this referendum is connected to protecting the 8th amendment. Now, Dave, I know you didn’t mean that. Because later in this same video you go on to tell us that this referendum is about changing Article 41, The Family in our constitution. Gay men, as you so often remind us, cannot have babies. So why would they care about abortion laws? I’m sure this was just a slip up, forgot the morning coffee did you? Sometimes I forget my coffee too and it makes me a little groggy, but it doesn’t make me confuse segments of documents upon which a Republic is founded.

Moving on then. So you’ve said that the media are biased and are on the yes side, and have been perpetuating “uninterrupted propaganda”. Now I’m no history buff, I got an honour in the junior cert but that’s about as far as it goes.  But I know that the word propaganda means  communications, usually from the Government, that are designed to influence the opinion of citizens. Can you point me to where you’ve seen propaganda? Or more importantly, go straight to the BAI. They’ll be very helpful if they hear that there is an outlet somewhere who is not adhering to the balance ruling they made. I really hope that sound I just heard was your coffee machine going on.

You went on to claim that some people are comparing you to racists, and comparing the acquisition and pursuit of same-sex marriage to the pursuit of interracial marriage in the United States. You claim that allowing people of different races to marry is fine, as no one else’s rights are affected. But the thing is, at the time, white people believed their rights were being affected. They believed it to be an affront to society that black people would be allowed to marry white people. Kind of like the way you believe that your rights, and the rights of children you don’t know, won’t ever know, and who haven’t even been born yet will be affected.  Is that coffee ready yet?

You then said that we were redefining the family. But really Dave, who gets to define anyone’s family? I grew up with an aunt of mine and I very much see her as my sibling. My sister is 12 years older than me and I see her very much in line with my parents’ roles because of that. You said that this referendum is asking us to pretend that two men or two women are the same thing as a man and a woman. But Dave, that’s just silly! I thought it was asking us to allow two men to have access to the same rights as the other citizens of the country in which they reside? I’m due new glasses in a couple of days, the optician said my sight is slightly worse than my last test but I really didn’t think I was reading the wording that poorly. Maybe it’s just that I’m not as short sighted as you. Get yourself an espresso Dave, you’ve a long few weeks ahead of you.

You said that words like equality are misleading. So, the word equality means “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights or opportunities”. So for example, if you have the right to buy  a banana, but I don’t have the right to buy a banana, we are not equal. “Baby stuff”, as you said yourself.  You also complained that people advocating a yes vote want gender quotas in government and business, yet not in marriages and families. There’s a pretty simple answer to that. Discrimination against women happens on a societal level and is systemic. Gender quotas aim to address this. The reason this cannot be applied to parenting is because what a child needs is to be cared for. Fed. Read to. Understood. Supported. Loved unconditionally. Chastised, challenged, educated, nurtured.  This has nothing to do with systemic sexism. As a woman I’m not discriminated against by my family, but by society I am. So there’s the difference. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”. But of course you seem to think that it should be something along the lines of “It takes a village to raise a child, except the only gay in the village”. Quad shot latté. Stat.

If we vote yes in this referendum, what we are doing is affording the same rights that you and I have as heterosexual people to those who identify with other sexualities. That really is all that is going to happen. The definition of family has already been changed with the Children and Family Relationships Bill. In fact the definition of family changes on a daily basis for families around the country who are having their first child, losing a parent, losing a grandparent, losing a neighbour, meeting a long lost relative who was adopted to an unknown family by the Catholic Church, making a connection with a teacher, meeting your future spouse. You absolutely don’t get to define anyone else’s family, you never have and you never will. And if we vote yes May 22nd, the State will recognise and afford rights to so many more of the colourful and beautiful families that make up our nation. Women are not the same as men Dave, you’re right. And 2nd class is not the same as equal.

I need a coffee after that.

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