rainbow over the River Liffey in Dublin on Saturday
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A snippet of Yeats came to mind in the aftermath of Ireland's historic vote on Friday:
All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.
Easter 1916, W.B. Yeats
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It is important, I think, to keep mind that Ireland has not yet enacted any enabling legislation to govern same-sex marriage. All that has happened is that the Constitution of Ireland has now been amended so that legislation can occur. State certified same-sex marriages will not occur until December or thereabouts.
The Irish Constitution is a strange beast. It was written with the active involvement of John Charles McQuaid who later became Archbishop of Dublin. Here's the preamble that still exists to this day:
As Archbishop, McQuaid later directly caused the ouster of a minister and effectively the fall of a coalition government in 1951 for daring to bring in the mother-and-child scheme.
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The words of the current Archbishop of Dublin regarding the outcome of the referendum vote have made some headlines. From an entry in the RTE live blog of the results:
It will be interesting to see whether the referendum result will lead to the "wake up" call that Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin was now required. Speaking to RTÉ earlier, Martin, who never came across as a particularly enthusiastic No voter, said "this is a social revolution... the church has a huge task in front of it get its message across to young people ... The church needs to do a reality check.”
He's a brave man for saying that. It won't win him friends in the Irish hierarchy nor, I daresay at the Vatican. It will be interesting to see who gets Ireland's next red hat.
Not only has Ireland has agreed to same-sex marriage, it has done so in a louder voice than many could have imagined, carried on the back of a remarkable turnout and an engagement by younger people not seen in years.
Following years of the politics of recession and bailout, the young were given something they could believe in, campaign for and vote for. And they did.
Kelly goes on to give credit to the leaders of the various political parties. As I said yesterday, the transformation of the Taoiseach on this issue was notable. His area of the country is reportedly voting 55% in favour.
A big part of the story was the turnout which looks like it will be higher than for every other referendum held in the country bar the first in which the Constitution itself was adopted.
Yet, this one was largely for the younger generation, which turned out in its droves. Stories of emigrants returning home to vote and huge increases in voter registration offered indications of what was to come but the final results were astonishing.
There is a possibility - albeit small, I'd reckon - that every electoral constituency will have voted in favour. Even if that does not happen, the results from rural areas are looking very finely balanced.
The shift in attitudes in rural areas was best exemplified by this tweet I saw yesterday:
Kitty Cotter (101) from Bandon, going out to vote Yes in her rainbow colours
As to what the Catholic Church will say? Well, their campaign was remarkably low key for them. There will be a few noises, no doubt, but I have to think now that many of them are quietly pleased at the likely outcome.
AFTERNOON UPDATE: The RTE live blog had this:
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said the social revolution that Minister Leo Varadkar spoke about earlier has been going on for some time. He said the Catholic Church needs a reality check.
Well done, Ireland! You have changed the future.
(And it will be interesting to see how the various St. Patrick's Day parades in the USA respond to Equality in the auld sod!)
People in the Republic of Ireland vote today in a referendum.
The referendum proposes to add the following to Article 41 of the Irish Constitution:
Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.
Ireland has recognized Civil Partnerships on 1 January 2011 but the wording of the Constitution did not allow for them to be equated with marriage. If the proposal is passed, a marriage between two people of the same sex will have the same status under the Constitution as a marriage between a man and a woman.
If the referendum passes, Ireland will become the first country in the world to approve a national referendum expressly guaranteeing same-sex marriage in its Constitution. That would be quite something. And I must give great credit to the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) for not impeding* and then endorsing the change. He's a conservative Catholic from a conservative area of the country. This is not something that would come naturally to him.
*He could easily have said no when he took office but he referred the question of a Constitutional Convention and, when they said to do this, he agreed.
Opinion polls have shown somewhere between 60% and 70% in favour.
This is exactly the type of issue on which conservative support is often under-counted. Twenty years ago, a referendum to approve divorce squeaked through by 50.3% to 49.7%.
My faith tells me that it doesn’t matter if one is able-bodied or bed-ridden, black or white, in Princeton or in prison, gay, straight or in between, God has shaped everyone in God’s own likeness and desires that everyone has the opportunity to live life in all its fullness.
The awesome former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, is in favour not least because of her gay son but this is a cause she has championed since she was President.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, however, is encouraging people to vote 'No' - a position that is entirely, if disappointingly, predictable. To his credit, though, he doesn't take the hellfire-and-brimstone approach and acknowledges that "there are many types of family in our society". It's not a new stance for him. Alone among the Irish hierarchy, he took a strong stand against the coverup of abuse against children.
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Jim Redmond at Towleroad has been covering news and events in Ireland in the lead up to today's vote. There's lots of good stuff and videos - too many for me to mention here.
However, I will include one.
Brendan O' Carroll is famous in Ireland as the Mammy, a character he created first in a serious of excellent books and, more recently, re-created in Mrs Brown's Boys. The TV show is an acquired taste for some. She's rude, crude, but a soft and loving mother at core. She has a gay son, Rory, but it is a running gag in the TV show that Mrs Brown is the only person who doesn't know that Rory is gay. Rory's attempts to tell her invariably get deflected in some hilarious way.
Here's her ad in favour of a YES vote:
"Every generation gets a chance to make a big change"
Here is USA Captain, Madison Hughes, being hoisted by Dan Barrett after the USA won their first ever Rugby 7s tournament. Interestingly, their victory came 91 years to the day after the USA won the gold medal for rugby at the 1924 Olympics. That win means that the USA are defending Olympic champions!
I blame this on my recently upgraded internet service and the ready availability of a streaming service from the World Rugby site.
I watched the London 7s tournament which was played at Twickenham - the iconic home of rugby in England.
Sevens rugby is both a delight and a curse.
It's a delight because the format encourages a fast-paced game with lots of scoring. It's a delight to watch a well coordinated side score try after try. It's a delight to watch supremely fit guys in short (often tight - e.g. France) shorts run around. It's a delight because each game lasts just 15 mins. It's a delight because no matter how good a team you are, you can be punished by the lowliest of teams. If you’re off your game you’ll get punished. One can never take anything for granted in sevens rugby.
It's a curse because a sevens tournament is two days of games, each of which follow one another in rapid succession. There's always an interesting match coming up next. It was a curse because it provided the perfect excuse for doing nothing on the only two sunny days of this past holiday weekend.
Each men's tournament has 16 teams. On Day 1, they play in four round-robin groups. The top two in each group qualify to play for the Cup on day 2; the others play for the consolation bowl on day 2. On Day 2, the quarter-final winners play for the Cup of Bowl; the losers play for the Plate or Shield, respectively. So there are a lot of matches - 45 - in a tournament. More importantly, it requires a great deal of physical fitness and stamina to survive those matches and to win one of the awards.
The London 7s tournament was the final leg in a 9 tournament series that began last October in Australia. That's a fairly punishing schedule. The top four teams were guaranteed places in the Olympics rugby 7s tournament. Only one was TBD heading in to London and England wrapped that up (though they will play as team GB at the Olympics).
The big story coming out of this tournament was Team USA. They won their first ever seven's tournament. It was a richly deserved win. Led by their young (and totally baby-faced captain, Madison Hughes) they demolished Canada (29-10), England (43-12) and finally Australia (45-22) on Day 2 with some exceptional play.
Here's a video from World Rubgy that summarizes the playoffs and shows a few of the great rugby moves that were on display:
And here are seven of the best try's that were scored:
Sevens tournaments are often themed and the London 7s was no exception. The theme was "intergalactic" and many fans turned up in fancy dress. It all added to the atmosphere of fun in the stands.
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Overlapping with the men's tournament, was a tournament for women's 7's rugby. The final two games of this tournament were played at the end of Day 1 of the men's. It was a real shame that many of the spectators left rather that stay to watch the two women's games, which were - if anything - more physical than the men's! Australia pipped Canada right at the end to win the title.
Here are seven of the best try's scored in the women's tournament: