Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On Why A Consistent Mothers And Fathers Matter Would Oppose American Marriages

I graduated from DCU more years ago than I dare remember. The march of time was borne home last month when I attended a campus debate on marriage equality. I found several new buildings and a student bar that looked liked it enjoyed a regular clean. My old computer labs were peopled by socially well adjusted students possessing impeccable personal hygiene. I hardly recognised the place.

Arriving as I did dressed in work attire I was initially greeted by the students as a no voter. The reception was warm enough, and as I received directions round the campus on which I'd spent four years of my life I took a moment to clarify my side. I received a free yes badge and did my best to remember my way through a maze of new structures to find Senators Zappone and Mullen, partnered respectively with John Lyons TD and Keith Mills of Mothers and Fathers Matter.

I enjoy a planned speech as much as the next mid thirties chap surrounded by a sea of youth, but for me the joy of a debate is the unrehearsed to and fro of the questions and answers section. The students of my former university did not disappoint and the auditorium strained capacity with articulate and well researched challenges to the no side's unique and strained interpretation of facts, studies, and the very fabric of reality.

Of particular focus was the no side's claim that children of same sex couples fare worse than the offspring of opposite sex married couples. Dwelling on this unevidenced claim is appropriate - it's damaging nonsense. In addition to a strong showing from the student body a sociology professor spoke eloquently about how the crushing weight of reality shattered the assertions of Mullen and Mills. Reputable studies supporting same sex parents were listed, the absence of opposing studies noted. It fell to Mills to mount a defence.

Mills, it seems, does not much favour the available sociological data. He noted that much of it was gleaned from study participants in the United States of America, a land he views as blighted by divorce, young marriage rates, and failed marriages. Ireland, it seems, does marriage better.

But here Mothers and Fathers Matter face an unpalatable conclusion. Mills has identified a sociological group who he deems less suitable for marriage. A group that marries, to his mind, too young. A group he sees as having a higher divorce rate, something likely to - what are his words? - deprive a child of a mother and father.

So why not bar Americans from matrimony?

We could introduce legislation to inform American visitors that their marriages are not recognised on Irish soil. Perhaps we could offer a separate-but-equal track called American unions, allowing some legal protections, but leaving the institution of Irish marriage unsullied. We could poster the streets with false claims about their children and claim we act with their best interests at heart.

You may find this daft. You may wonder why anyone would seek to bar a section of society from the support and stability marriage brings to couples. In fact I rather hope you do. All I ask is that you hold that feeling close when you next hear Mothers And Fathers Matter.

Monday, April 27, 2015

#marref: What Would Fionn Mac Cumhaill's Mothers Say?

"We never intended to raise children" starts Bodhmall, welcoming me to the home she shares with her life partner Liach Luachra in an enchanting rural wood. They've been kind enough to share with me their experiences raising a child as parents of the same gender. Look it up if you don't believe me.
"But when your brother in law is brutally murdered by your father and your sister is forced to live on the run from men who want to burn her alive based on her choice of partner, well, you step up."
Liach nods her agreement as she roasts a hare over their open hearth. She joins in.
"It was a mess. We were totally unprepared. People always think of Fionn Mac Cumhaill as a fearless giant of a man, able to defeat entire armies in single combat. But they don't think what it's like to raise a child with that much energy."
"I think parenting is knowing you've been given the most important job in the world to do. That you've been given something precious - the chance to give someone the best start in life - it's terrifying. Because no matter how hard you work at it you'll never think you're doing justice to the person they're becoming."
"You're too hard on yourself" interrupts Bodhmall, setting the table, "our son led na Fianna, killed the fire breathing fairy Aillen, built the Giant's Causeway, and made us that lovely fishing lake when he threw the Isle of Man into the sea. He turned out fine."
"I hate to ask, but did you ever find opposition from religious leaders?"
Liach considers my question while sharpening the edge of a disemboweling spear designed to be held between the toes.
"No. I can honestly say we've never been troubled by the Druids."
I ask if they can tell me a little about Fionn's early days. Like any parents they smile at the opportunity to share happy memories.
"Martial arts really helped Fionn focus that energy of his. I swear, before he started on the spear and sword we were run ragged. But once we had him sparring a couple of times a day he started sleeping through the night and we were able to make regular time for ourselves. You know, as a couple. It's important as new parents to do that. Especially if either one of you can disembowel a man at twenty paces. It doesn't do to let pent up frustrations linger."
Liach nods sagely. I raise my final question cautiously.
"There are some who say children should only be raised by a man and a woman in in a married relationship. That men and women have unique traits that are essential to raising a child. What would you say to that?"
The silence terrifies. Liach smiles and tries to put me at ease.
"I find people like that don't like to say what these 'unique' roles are. If you look at any claimed gender specific trait closely enough it tends to disappear into the vapour. I mean, Bodhmall and I are undefeated in single combat, and many men have tried. And a lot of Fionn's schooling took place outside the home and some people say that's a woman's responsibility. But even if you did go in for gender roles - are you really going to argue Fionn doesn't fit the traditional mould of masculinity?"
Bodhmall is examining the edge of the spear Liach recently sharpened.
"These Druids who think I'm a bad parent. Would they be within twenty paces of here?"

Sunday, April 19, 2015

They Do Not Care About The Children

Over the coming weeks every household in Ireland will receive a leaflet entitled "7 Great [s
ic] Reasons To Keep Marriage As Is"

One of the groups listed as sponsoring the endeavour is "Marriage Diversity". It shares a name with an American group who consider the natural variety of human sexuality an abhorrence and something to be 'cured'. The stated aim of the organisation is to oppose same sex marriage. They own both and and would not have been easily overlooked while choosing a name for an anti marriage equality group. 

Visitors to these sites will find every vile lie ever told about those who do not share my sexuality. (See 'gay marriage facts' if you are strong of stomach.) It pains me to quote from them, but I feel it best to share a tiny sliver of their slanders rather than have you wade through the morass. They pretend those in same sex relationships have a life expectancy of 50, are alcoholic, depressed, violent towards their partners, are disposed towards crime, that the average number of partners for gay men is 308, they pretend it is impossible for two men to be in a monogamous relationship, and then pretend only 1% of the population is gay or bi. If you're not already aware what patent nonsense this is then I suggest you find more pertinent reading material than this blog.

It bears emphasising that every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender child in Ireland will receive this. To their home. In the place where this group we have marginalised should feel safest, those opposed to civil marriage rights have chosen to introduce the name of a hate group. Some of these children will certainly Google those so opposed to their future right to marry and be faced with this hateful, damaging, and dangerous nonsense.

Who is distributing this? In an earlier post I discussed Family and Life, the longest established group who has chosen to add their name to this leaflet. But what of the third partner, Mothers and Fathers Matter?

Thankfully has already covered their makeup. Most significantly, we learn that the site is hosted on the same infrastructure as The information is now protected by a whois privacy protection service so I am unable to personally verify Broadsheet's findings at this time. Further addendum: having checked the historical domain registration information available it seems was using a privacy protection service before Broadsheet published their piece. My thanks to @mptireland on Twitter for raising the issue. 

Those behind this leaflet either felt it acceptable to choose the name of a homophobic hate club or simply weren't bothered to see if the name was associated with a group so damaging to the mental health of LGBTQ children. Remember this when they claim to act with their best interests at heart.

@Mandate_2015 and Bad #MarRef Arguments of Biblical Proportions

Mandrake and Lothar. For Marriage?
When deciding which Irish citizens should be permitted marriage it is wise of us to consider outside the naturalistic realm. Today I found myself concerned with Mandrakes.

For those whose Harry Potter knowledge falters, Mandrakes are magical plants with humanoid tubers. Their cry when young grates on the ears. When older their shriek can prove fatal.

It brought me pleasure to discover the group Mandrake for Marriage. Come May 23rd, should the referendum pass, their whoops of delight will likely kill us all.

But this was not the Mandrake I sought. Rather I wished to find the view of the dapper Mandrake the Magician (pictured right) and his burly companion Lothar. Regrettably, despite considerable research, I was unable to determine which way these 1930's comic book stars swung.

During this research I made a rare typo and found myself on I assumed it was a singles site for marriage inclined men, but having probed the jumbled mess of their hilariously misnamed site further I discovered that the site actually calls for a No vote.

My desire for knowledge of Lothar and Mandrake unquenched I moved to return to Bing. But then I noticed the trio of Burkes who produced the site share my concern for the supernatural realm. Indeed in one of their recent posts they claim to be able to correctly arbitrate Biblical scripture's messages on civil marriage matters.

The remainder of this post will evaluate their efforts with said scriptures. As the discussion will involve the Old Testament it will have to include discussion of rape. Please consider this a content warning. I'll include a picture of Mandrake and Lothar wearing matching rings to space the text a little:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Seeking Any Reasons to Limit Marriage

What new can I say about the Irish group Family and Life? Their past projects have included campaigning against the HSE's desire to provide vaccines for children. Their Facebook page seems unnervingly popular in Spanish speaking countries famed for producing fake Facebook accounts.

When not fighting against children's rights to receive the MMR vaccine they find time to fight against some children's rights to have married parents. I speak, of course, of the upcoming marriage referendum. The only unifying motivation that could explain such desire to fight medical and societal progress is lust to see Ireland returned to the 1950's.

But I digress.

They have printed a leaflet for every household in Ireland and from it I learn their endeavour was not accomplished without assistance.They partner with Mothers and Fathers Matter, a company that celebrates its fourth month in existence today, and Marriage Diversity, a group which I am told have yet to launch.

It is I hope not unkind of me to hypothesise that Family and Life are the senior partner of the three.

A digression - I'm going to be charitable with Marriage Diversity and assume they have been both unfortunate in their choice of name and negligent in their preparatory research. Both and link to rather hateful content, including this opening paragraph of their 'gay marriage facts' page which some will find distressing:
"Homosexuality is not just another alternative lifestyle or even a sexual "preference;" it is unhealthy and destructive behavior which negatively impacts individual persons, families, and society. Same sex attraction is a symptom of a developmental disorder that can often be prevented and can be treated. [this, of course, is bollocks -Geoff] Homosexual advocacy groups seeking to normalize homosexual behavior by equating homosexuality with innate characteristics such as race or ethnicity should be opposed."
More pleasingly, is run by pro marriage equality canvassers and celebrates diverse, married viewpoints calling for same sex marriage rights.