Dripping in Privilege for Marriage Equality
by Brendan Strong
“No man has the right to say to his country, “Thus far shalt thou go and no further”, and we have never attempted to fix the “ne plus ultra” to the progress of Ireland’s nationhood, and we never shall.” Charles Stewart Parnell
I am a white, middle class, male –
Married with two children,
I work in an office in Dublin
And live in rural suburbia
I am dripping in privilege.
Others, demographically like me
Otherwise unknown to me (literally and figuratively)
Describe “marriage” as something which is
Through me, or with me or in me.
Entitled as they are to their own opinion
(Even if they’ve been vocal to say they haven’t been)
They are not entitled to mine.
In the First Cause
There seems to be a feeling
That marriage was somewhere defined
In stasis: man, woman and child
Or children, I forget
I don’t have a marriage, it is not exclusively mine
My wife and I have a marriage that together we define
It is not defined by society – it is legally recognised
It is not defined by our genders or by either child
It is not defined by history, traditions or any such guff
It is not defined by some wonderous power from above
It is defined by love.
Life makes marriage complicated
Not the love between two people
Life makes families complicated
Not sex or sexuality.
In the Second Cause
There seems to be a feeling
That a child must have a mum and dad
And no one can take the place of a parent
Which actually muddies the argument.
Because no one can take the place of a parent –
Once a child is being raised
But as pointed out by the APA
It matters little if parents are straight or gay.
Some say same-sex marriage deprives
A child of a mother or father in their lives
“Deprivation” intends some cruel State intervention
When opening up to all – equally – is the intention
This bit of reading was a waste of time
As this referendum has no line
That mentions the place of a child in a family
But they keep saying it and that’s what occurs to me.
In the Third Cause
Then they say the status quo
Is just different cases for different folk
And a civil partnership should be “enough”
Which seems to exchange equality for bluff.
This referendum is about the State’s constitution
Where family is Society’s fundamental unit
So if we say “it’s just different for different people”
We really say, “It’s fine that these families are unequal”
Some think society should be tailored to the ends they seek
Under the codes of their religious beliefs
And they are wrong: this society is for everyone
And it protects their rights as much as anyone’s.
In the Fourth Case
And now people want a clause
That allows their conscience freedom from laws
So while we say “You’re equal”
We’ll really mean “You’re still different”
You’ve a sense someone knows they’ll lose
When they ask ahead to be exempt from rules.
Equality means you can’t discriminate
(Religion is also protected from hate)
The Other Insane Causes
We’re near the end of this ridiculous piece
And so we should have some fun and see
Some of the more bizarre reasons
To refuse to recognise the love of people
Same sex marriage has been linked
To an attempt to get abortion in
As if through some homosexual magic
The beauty of love will become tragic
And then the issue of same sex marriage
Being forced upon us should be disparaged
Because you can just mind your own business
Or be happy for someone else’s happiness
That we open the door to dogs and cats
Marrying and raising a family of bats
Is clearly from somewhere in a belfry born
Where these ideas of bats, cats and dogs were formed
Similarly the marriage of siblings
Or the “intrinsic disorder of homosexual feelings”
Or the loss of the traditions we held once
Are not really worthy of response.
This is why I’m voting Yes
To see my fellow citizens met
With the same rights that I enjoy
Born as I was: a straight, white, middle class boy.
This referendum is about equality
And frankly it’s embarrassing to me
To be asked to give permission for society’s recognition
Of the love of others when
I am dripping in privilege