Ireland’s Marriage Referendum
José Cruz: Um, being Irish, there’s (Yes) some interesting news that just came out of Ireland the last uh, (Mm) week or so. Was it three days or so? When was it?
Shane Doyle: Last week, wasn’t it? Yeah.
José: Last week (Yeah. Last week) And it was a wonderful thing, (Mm) Uh and I could tell the story but I would like you to just give a quick background on what this wonderful thing is that uh, we’re talking about.
Shane: Well uh, The Irish government offered the people of Ireland a referendum on whether we cou- we could have gay marriage or not in the state. (Mm-hmm) And and that vote was taken last week and the result was that it passed. Meaning that gay couples in Ireland now have the right to marry and it is recognized by the state.
José: And it’s a historicnote the difference in pronunciation from how these two words are written with the inclusion of the “N” sound (0:42) vote too (Mm) because it’s the first time in the whole world that a state has actually used a referendum to entrench into law the right for any couple: a heterosexual couple, a homosexual couple (Mm) to get married, so you know. Congratulations to you. (Thanks) I think that’s a wonderful thing.
Shane: Well it certainly is. I mean when you know I left Ireland over 20 years ago now. You know and, the Ireland back then was a very different Ireland I think and the state uh, the state and the church influence, Particularly the church influence within the state was uh, was very very strong, you know and many people were brought up to be uh, strong Catholics. Alright, and as part of the Catholic teaching is is that uh you know, there is- they will not recognize gay marriage. (Right) Aright? Now from that point of view I think the country has moved, uh from that position in the space of maybe 20, 30 years to a position whereby they’re open and accepting of uh, all minorities in the state.
José: Don’t don’t be humble you you guys have basically risen to the top in the world (Mm) of being like the leader among countries of establishing civil rights for all people in the country. You’ve from- in 20 years… Well actually I wanted to ask about that background. What was it like 20 years ago in Ireland in terms of just the general level of social homophobia? Was we- were gays as open? Uh were gays uh able to find sort of social support, government support for their for their, uh for who they were as they obviously can now? Or were people kind of openly saying, “Oh homosshort for “homosexual” This is considered a rude slur (2:25) out! Oh no homos at this bar!” Or uh, how was the level of social homophobia back then?
Shane: Well no, it wasn’t- it wouldn’t be that blatant, you know. Heh, but I think that people, people uh would not, would not come outto “come out” for a homosexual means to reveal their sexuality to their family and friends (2:42) basically (Mm) uh you know. They would not come out in public they would not probably come out to their family or their friends because of fear of of homophobia, isn’t it? (Right) You know, and uh and I think nowadays, nowadays obviously you know society has moved on and people are more accepting, but I personally, I think that a lot of that has to do with the level of emigration we have in Ireland, isn’t it? the number of people who step outside the country, for a number of years due to due to looking for jobs (Right) or wanting to travel or for whatever reason it is- study and so on.You know they step outside the country and they see a different society elsewhere; a more perhaps open, a more perhaps accepting society and they’ve taken that on board and brought it back to Ireland. You know, and it is thosepronounced “DOHZ” (3:30) people who have shaped the referendum that we had last week.
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José Domingo Cruz
Vancouver, British Columbia
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