Mary McAleese urges support for 'Yes' vote revealing her gay Catholic son's torment
The former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese has urged support for a ‘Yes’ vote in the same-sex marriage referendum, revealing the torment her devout Catholic son received from bullies because he was gay.
Ms McAleese spoke at an event hosted by BeLonG, Ireland’s national organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people.
The former Irish president recently revealed to the Irish Times, the “torture” her son, Justin went through when he discovered the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. She spoke about her fears for Justin, who grew up as an altar boy and a member of the local Catholic youth club. “A ‘Yes’ vote costs the rest of us nothing, a ‘No’ vote costs our gay children everything”, she said.
Ms McAleese claimed that the referendum gives the country a chance to put an end to the isolation and inequality its gay citizens have experienced, explaining their suffering due to second-class citizenship.
In reference to the Catholic Church’s comments on marriage and the family, urging the country to vote ‘No’ and think of the children, Ms McAleese took another stance.
“The only children affected by this referendum will be Ireland’s gay children”, she stated, “It is their future which is at stake. It is in our hands. They are too few in number to win this referendum on their own”.
“We, the majority, have to make it happen for them and for all the unborn gay children who are relying on us to end the branding, end the isolation, end the inequality, literally once and for all”, she added.
Ms McAleese said that a ‘Yes’ vote would not affect any heterosexual marriage but it would affect the lives of all parents of gay children. She explained the peace of mind these parents would feel and also the pride in their country’s commitment to true equality.
“On 22nd May, we, the adult citizens of Ireland will be asked a simple question: Do we agree to gay civil marriage? If we say yes we will be conferring on our gay citizens the right to marry those they love in a registry office. No more and no less”, concluded the former Irish president.