By: Devin Riggs, Regular Contributor
YOU GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE!!!
AND YOU GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE!!!!
AND YOU GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE!!!!!
EVERYBODY GETS A MARRIAGE LICENSE!!!!!!!
Thanks to social media, first time-voters, and the publication of personal stories, this is now the case in Ireland, the first country to legalize gay marriage through a nation wide popular vote (62.1 % votes in favor). The referendum will change the nation’s constitutional definition of marriage to include unions of same sex couples.
This is huge, to say the least, as the Catholic Church has been a major influence in the social policies of Ireland. Divorce was narrowly legalized in 1995 and abortion is still outlawed. This is no doubt a major play in the social revolution. And honestly, we need more revolution. We need young people to speak up, use their voices, and make change happen. This is our moment. We cannot sit idly by and let other people determine what is right for us.
We need more people like David Norris who has been fighting for LGBT rights for decades, but who also knows the fight is not over with this single vote. He says that,
“We have to await the legislation and make sure that elements such as pension discrimination and a section of the equality legislation that would allow religious institutions to fire people for being gay are cleared up. However, much more important is the position of gay people in the majority of countries where they are harassed, persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, tortured and murdered. In the elation of our own triumph we must not forget our oppressed brothers and sisters.”
We still have a long way to go in terms of true equality across all spectrums. Marriage is one part of a much larger issue, not just in Ireland, but also in the global community. As the United States awaits a Supreme Court decision on this very matter, businesses are refusing to cater LGBT weddings on the basis of religious beliefs, elderly same sex couples are struggling to make ends meet due to discrimination dealing in social security benefits, and in over half of states there is no job protection for sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ireland has taken a huge step toward full equality with this recent popular vote, and it is definitely something to celebrate after decades of hard work. However, the work is not over. There are so many other battles to fight in the name of equality, so many other issues we must face. We have to keep standing up, keep speaking out, and keep pushing for change so that everyone may live without the fear discrimination.
Let's Chat! How can we continue to speak out against discrimination? In what ways can we follow Ireland's example? Share with us here!
Devin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.
image via newws.yahoo.com