The marriage referendum in Ireland is now a week away, and I thought that, as an end-of-week offering, I might gather into a single posting a bouquet of videos addressing the Irish referendum to which the ever-vigilant Chris Morley has posted links in the past several days. These run the gamut from grandmothers talking about fairness and human decency as a fundamental Catholic value, to young folks calling their grandmothers and talking about how the world in which they live is different from the world in which their elders grew up — and everyone needs to feel he/she has a place in the world, as major cultural shifts take place.
Regardless of how the Irish referendum turns out, I find the process that has led up to it extraordinary. What I observe from a distance is that an entire nation, an historically Catholic one, has been involved in a society-wide discussion in which people exchange views, often passionately so, about issues of tradition and moral "basics" to issues of fairness and inclusion (themselves moral "basics"), and the need for moral basics to address new social developments. At heart, this discussion is really about what counts first and foremost as Catholic values: will it be love, mercy, acceptance, justice, and inclusion? Or will it be adherence to a tradition that ignores those deep traditional Catholic values and militates against them, because, well, tradition?
From political journalist Ursula Halligan to renowned novelist Colm Tóibín, Irish people with deep Catholic roots have been telling their sometimes painful, deeply moving stories to their fellow citizens, asking that those citizens begin to grapple with the reality that there are, living among them, family members, friends, and co-workers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender — and who want to be valued. To have their lives count.
As Colm Tóibín tells his fellow Irish folks,
What we want is strangely simple: we want to be included. Winning the right to marry on May 22nd will lift a great weight from us and those who wish us well; it will be a liberation for us, and a milestone in the history of increasing tolerance in Ireland.
And so to the videos: the one at the top of the posting is 90-year-old great-grandmother Madeleine Connolly, a practicing Catholic, explaining why she intends to vote yes next Friday. This and many of the following videos are from Yes Equality, and as Chris has noted in a comment here, you can find a rich offering of many videos about the refrendum at Yes Equality's You Tube channel. Here's a video featuring Mark, a volunteer in Yes Equality's canvassing effort, explaining why he's involved (note: all these links open directly to videos):
Here's Égale Canada Human Rights Trust, featuring Irish Canadians encouraging their fellow citizens back home to vote yes:
And a similar video made by Irish people living in New York, from the Media Factory:
A group of hurlers from Cork (by way of Yes Equality) explaining why they intend to vote yes:
A sly, funny, very sharp deconstruction by Carlos Quinn of the red-herring hysterical arguments being deployed by the opponents of marriage equality in Ireland:
Here's a group of Irish barristers explaining why they have gathered together a group called Lawyers for Yes supporting marriage equality:
Yes Equality again on the, "Ah, I don't know" response to the referendum:
Filmmaker Patrick Corr explaining why he intends to vote yes:
You may remember Panti Bliss and her impassioned tirade about homophobia, which I featured here last year: when not in the drag persona, Panti is Rory O'Neill, and here he is talking about what a no vote would communicate to LGBT Irish citizens:
Fight Like Apes and Friends performing a vote yes ersion of the Pet Shop Boys' "Go West":
One of several "ring your granny" videos being offered by Yes Equality:
And, last but far from least, this is Yes Equality co-director Grainne Healy commenting on the vote a week out, and, in particular, on the parenting issues constantly raised by opponents of marriage equality who want people to think that same-sex couples cannot properly raise children: