Gay Marriage: Both sides battle it out on final Prime Time debate – – Our News, Your Views

Gay Marriage: Both sides battle it out on final Prime Time debate


This was it; the Big One. The final stand off between the two warring sides.

The Yes and No sides went face to face one last time on national TV before polling day.

Media buzz surrounding the issues at stake in this referendum has been loud and intense over the last few weeks, as the warring parties fight to gather enough momentum to defeat their foe.

Reactions to tonight’s debate on Twitter and elsewhere have been plentiful, and polarizing in the extreme, as most of the issues surrounding the Same Sex Marriage referendum have been. This is a momentous time for Ireland, and it has been put to the Government that the very proposal of amending the Constitution in the way the Yes side wants is ill- thought out, with way too many strands of uncharted territory left hanging in the air.

Representing the Yes side on Prime Time tonight were Minister for Communication, Energy, and Natural Resources Alex White, Colm O’Gorman from Amnesty International, and Senator Katherine Zappone.

Representing the No side, Maria Steen Iona Institute, Patrick Treacy, and Ronan Mullen.

Both sides expressed their views and arguments, and Miriam O’Callaghan did go hard on both sides.

During the debate, Minister White and Senator Zappone proved to be particularly weak, their answers based around a central core point of the much-bandied “equality” buzz word. While Miriam did press hard, the No side always managed to answer more comprehensively.

There were some very valid points raised tonight; for instance, Patrick Treacy pointed out that marriage has been defined in Roman Law for over 2,500 years, and said that the Government is attempting to change such established institution with a swift, barely thought-out stroke, and that the consequence of a Yes outcome will be far reaching and unpredictable. He said that family is founded in marriage, as described in Article 41 of the Constitution.

Maria Steen from the Iona Institute said that if the referendum passes, the Constitution will be re-written. She also made a great point about being a mother, as she herself is. She made the point of changing nappies, ferrying children around, and performing all the duties that a mother must do, saying that children need that.

Minister White and Senator Zappone were also fairly incapable of providing comprehensive answers on why civil partnership is different to marriage, without acknowledging that marriage has for thousands of years been well defined as the union of a man and a woman.

The Yes side doggedly attempted to restrict their arguments to the basic “equality” mantra of giving same sex couples access to marriage, refusing to enter or accept any of the points raised by the No campaigners in relation to children.
Ronan Mullen from the No side for instance said that the value of marriage is to reunite the biological children with their parents, and that we should never deprive a child of their right to a mother and a father by enabling a constitutional tool to do so. On that point, the issue of Baby Maria was raised. The No campaign made a great point by saying how much emphasis and efforts are being dedicated into reuniting her with her biological mother.

The No side hammered home the point that, where possible, a child needs and thrives in a stable and loving environment inhabited by a mother and a father. Life circumstances will sometimes get in the way, and widowers, or two men and two women will in many occassions be tasked with raising children, but these are not “designed” schemes, so to speak, and that all things being equal, a child should have a mother and a father.

Former President Mary McAleese’s comments today that she intends to vote Yes were also mentioned. Ms. McAleese said that she does not want her son, who is gay, to feel like a second class citizen in this country.

Generally speaking, the Yes side did not provide any new or categorically defining answers to validate their points, simply rehashing what has often said before in accordance with the Government’s official position on the referendum. Meanwhile, the No side did raise very specific points and reasons why the refendum should have a No outcome.

This is a referendum which, whether it passes or not, will have far reaching consequences in terms of popular opinion,
and the understanding of people and their relationships in this country.

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