Marriage equality referendum — one year on

It’s a year, one full year, since Ireland voted in a referendum to make all our citizens equal, and the Irish people voted overwhelmingly to do the right thing.

As a veteran of previous referendums, I wasn’t sure they would but I’m glad to say I was wrong.

As somebody who didn’t have a dog in the fight, I was glad that my LGBTQ friends were vindicated.

As an Irish citizen, I was proud to have contributed whatever small thing I could.

The Irish people decided to do the decent thing. Marriage equality is now the law of the land and yet there are many who fail to accept the democratic will of the Irish people. The Iona Institute lobby group have pumped out one self-pitying article after another bewailing the fact that the Irish people voted the wrong way in a democratic referendum. One authoritarian ideologue after another has berated us for failing to obey their instructions.

If you thought oppression disappeared in 1922, you made a big mistake. They haven’t gone away, you know, and the oppression only got worse. After independence, Ireland was delivered into the hands of an overbearing elite of wealthy people who, of course, had always been in control but who now held the levers of power.

It comes as a shock to most of us who didn’t share in the privilege and the wealth of these people for generations. When we see them shuffle out of the darkness, as we saw last year in the Marriage Equality debate, we are genuinely shocked. We gaze on them and we ask ourselves how we could not have known about this layer of society. This layer that holds so much wealth and so much entitlement. This layer that considers itself superior to the rest of us, even though there is no objective reason to justify such an opinion.

I went to the radio debate held by Newstalk and of course the attendance was as diverse as you might expect. There was the lunatic fringe, represented by John Waters. There was the idealistic group of committed youngish people. There was a bunch of battle-worn old skeptics like myself.

And over there in the corner was a crowd of sour-looking, prosperous-looking elders (sad to say) dressed like the audience of the Late Late Show and clearly outraged at the notion that anyone would have the gall to disagree with them.

Otherwise known as The Rich.

I found them hilarious, but the louder I laughed at John Waters, the deeper became the scowls of the ladies in the twin-sets until eventually a stern-looking old fellow in a suit walked up to the young people in front of us and gave them a harsh stare, like a teacher from the 1960s threatening physical abuse on a class of six-year-olds.

I got the blame, naturally, for laughing at John Waters but I’ll wear that badge with pride. The rich old people might well have never heard of him but they seemed happy to take any lunatic they could get, given the utter stupidity of their cause. In fairness to them, the older I get, the stupider I get but at least my stupidity isn’t aimed at depriving my fellow citizens of freedom. That’s where religious madness comes in.

It’s a full year since our brothers and sisters won full recognition but at least it happened. Ireland legalised same-sex marriage and the people who voted for it included elderly aunties, raving Commies and quiet-minded religious people who understood the notion of decency.

As I said, I had no dog in the fight, but  that might have been a little inaccurate. Of course I have LGBT friends who might wish to be married, but more importantly, the dog I have in this fight is the dog guarding us all against intolerance and religious extremism.


Ancient longing for power behind religious opposition to same-sex marriage amendment

Same-Sex Marriage — Anti-Equality Lobby Recruit The Brady Bunch

Lawyers For Yes tear apart every last Opus Dei lie about marriage equality

Father Ted meets Monty Python as Brother Dougal hits Limerick in the fight against the evil gays


Construction Politics

Post-Referendum Business Opportunities

Now that the unfortunate business of the marriage equality referendum is out of the way, it’s time to reveal my true agenda.  It’s time to start fulfilling the worst fears of the Iona Institute and the Muttering Fathers.

The plans have been under preparation for a long time.  Vast armies of kidnapped biological fathers have been slaving in a vast and beautifully-decorated subterranean cavern under the watchful eyes of my fanatical Gayhadist guards and now at last I’m ready.

A week from today, my people will open a shop in every city and town across Ireland selling designer surrogate babies.

They’ll be organic, locally-produced and fully traceable.

I’ve formed an alliance with an evil multinational to genetically modify them so that you can select a baby that looks like, for instance, David Quinn or Breda O’Brien but a court has ruled against making a baby that looks like John Waters on the grounds of excessive cruelty.

The business model is simple.  We’ll use poor women from the Third World as surrogate mothers, and then we’ll brutally force them to give up their babies and throw them out on the streets in the normal way.  In future, we hope that our teams of gay Nazi scientists will find a way to grow babies in a tank, so that you can pick one out while you enjoy a nice meal in one of our restaurants.   You get to try out your baby for a month and if you don’t like it you can bring it back with no questions asked, but the offer is limited to a maximum of three babies in any calendar year.

I think this idea will catch on, given the hundreds of thousands of ravening gays that the Ionanists and the Muttering Fathers warned us about.

I’m calling the company IonaBaby.

Other products include Iona lesbian pouring-chocolate and Rampant Bigot fun toys.


Great Bouncing Ionaballs!

The ever-expanding list of concerned groups against the Gay seemed to defy the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and common sense.  We only have four and a half million people in the country.  How could we have ten million right-wing Catholic pressure groups?  Mothers and Fathers Matter.  The Iona Institute. Educators for Conscience. Stand Up For Marriage. Down With That Sort of Thing.  Monty Python Against Sexiness.

And then it dawned on me.

There might be ten million pressure groups but there’s probably no more than a couple of hundred extra-loud busybodies trying to run our lives under the disguise of all these important-sounding titles.

So I did a bit of digging on the linkages between the usual faces that pop up on talk shows and the various creepy organisations.  And guess what?  It’s like a spider web.

I wasn’t quite sure how to represent these connections since a normal database structure wouldn’t really illustrate them properly, but that’s where our long-term associate Jim Daly, stepped in.



What about this? he said, producing a galaxy of little frowning, bouncing bobble-heads.  And there you have it.  That’s Ireland’s shabbby theocracy in one satisfying, stress-relieving computer graphic.

You can play with it.  You can zoom in and zoom out.  You can drag it around.

You can grab, let’s say, Breda O’Brien and see if you can make her bounce off Ronan Mullen.

Go on.  Have a look.  It’s fun.

Click on the pic or follow this link.


Politics Religion

Sinister tactics from No camp

Stephen Neill is a Church of Ireland priest in Celbridge.

Today he posted a very strange story on Facebook.


Most interesting – Just had a phone call from someone claiming to be a non attending parishioner of mine urging me to tell my parishioners tomorrow to vote no –Had a fulsome and reasonably courteous debate but assured the said person (who only gave me a first name) that I would not be directing the congregation from the pulpit despite my own widely known views. After the phone call ended I did an internet reverse look up on the telephone number and discovered that the number was nowhere near my parish and was infact the number of a prominent solicitor used by a prominent organisation campaigning for a No vote! I decided to phone back and got the person (not incidentally the solicitor in question but they did admit their location) and same individual was a little bit rattled – I don’t know if said person is a parishioner and lives in my parish as they claimed but to me it was all a little less than transparent – This sort of behaviour only serves to undermine whatever cause a person is advocating – It certainly did nothing to weaken my resolve to vote YES


A prominent solicitor used  by a prominent organisation campaigning for a No vote?

Now who could that possibly be?  We’ll be up all night trying to figure it out.

Religion Sexuality

Iona Institute warns that straight men might marry each other and not have gay bum-sex if referendum passes

Poe’s Law states as follows:

Without a clear indicator of an author’s intention, it is often impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of such extremism.

David Quinn is perhaps the greatest satirist Ireland has seen since Jonathan Swift and at the same time the least recognised, which is a true measure of his genius.  Anyone could set up a parody account on Twitter or Facebook, but David took it to a new level by setting up a real-life parody pressure group.  He gave it a company name: Lolek Ltd, and then he gave it a public name, The Iona Institute, a title so gloriously grandiose and absurd that nobody noticed it was a joke.

Crucially, demonstrating a deep understanding of Poe’s Law,  David Quinn avoided the temptation to provide a clear indicator that his work was satire, thus establishing himself as a comic genius, since this is where most satirists fall down. It is very, very hard to do this sort of comedy with a straight face.

Hiding in plain  sight, David succeeded in convincing RTE, the national broadcaster, that his parody company was in fact a real institute with real credibility and real research supporting its views, instead of an in-joke between himself and five of his friends.

Over the years, in its sardonic and knowing way, the Iona Project has exposed the gullibility of journalists and the general public, suggesting one ludicrous proposition after another without anyone ever realising that it was all comedy.  In many ways, Quinn has a great deal in common with Chris Morris of Brass Eye, who managed to convince everyone from Andrew Neil to Peter Tatchell that he was a serious journalist fronting a real news programme.

But of course, all great satirical works must eventually reach their natural end.

It happened to Swift with his modest proposal to cook and eat babies.

It happened to Brass Eye with its Pedophiles programme.

And inevitably, it happened to the Iona Institute when, for reasons only David Quinn can explain, he finally decided enough is enough.  After a massively-entertaining season in which he lampooned the attitudes of homophobes, hate-mongers and the intolerant quasi-fascists that seethe beneath the surface of our little country, Quinn decided to provide Poe’s clear indication that his project was indeed satire, and he did it in such style that we can only stand and applaud.

Commenting on the proposal to allow same-sex marriage, Quinn’s Iona Institute warned that if the Irish public vote Yes, it will lead to straight men marrying each other and not having gay bum-sex.

Hetero marriage Iona

Comic genius sans pareil.  The only satirical equivalent that comes to mind is when Chris Morris suggested that gays can’t join the Navy because they attract torpedoes.

Mr Quinn, we applaud you, though I shed a tear that you have decided to bring down the curtain on this hilarious project.

At the same time, let’s not be too despondent.  The Iona parody might well be over, but we haven’t heard the last of David Quinn.  I predict that his comic genius will find a new way to shout out and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was already working on a new project.

This man is the future of Irish satire.



Favourites Religion Sexuality

Father Ted meets Monty Python as Brother Dougal hits Limerick in the fight against the evil gays

Normally when I wake up in the morning, it isn’t entirely an episode of Father Ted and it might not even be completely Monty Python, though at the moment there’s a strong feeling that it might be mostly Game of Thrones.

A man meets a man’s beloved daughter in the market for an early curry.

A man’s daughter goes for intensive hair treatment.

Meanwhile, a man wanders around town, trying not to wear too many faces until a man stumbles across a bunch of lunatics and a man’s mask slips.

irish society for christian civilisation rory o'hanlon father ted

Seven magnificent men, or perhaps a man detects six men and a boy, reciting prayers to the old gods and the new before setting out on a dangerous mission. A man salutes them and then a man goes for a coffee, with cream because after all it is a Saturday.

That’s where Game of Thrones evaporates and our Saturday morning becomes very real, as long as you consider utterly bizarre a form of reality.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, here come a bunch of men in cheap business suits wearing sashes made from recycled Munster flags.

Men are wearing red capes across their suits for no clear reason. Six men and a boy are wearing capes. Six cape-wearing men and a boy in a cape are handing out pamphlets against homosexual marriage.


Irish Society for Christian Civilisation



Irish Society for Christian Civilisation


Ah! Now I have you. Marriage should be between a man and a woman from the eighteenth century. That makes perfect sense.


Irish Society for Christian Civilisation Rory O'Hanlon

What is this? everyone wonders.

Is this a promotion for today’s clash between Munster and Ulster? Is this a  gesture from Munster in favour of gay rights?  After all, Munster Rugby facilitated a massive table quiz in support of equality only two days ago.

But then it dawns on us. No self-respecting gay man would wear anything as tacky as these people are wearing, even in support of a cause. I wouldn’t wear it myself, for that matter, and I have the dress sense of a Jack Russell. They must be bigots. The B-word. The word that the homophobic fake institutes would try to prevent everyone from using.

Our hackles rise, perhaps unreasonably until we get talking to them and we discover that yes, they really do hate their fellow man and woman.  They really do detest people who don’t fit their template of what constitutes god-given sexuality.

I find myself talking to one of them, who tries to explain that it’s all about the children.

Let’s call him Rory.

I tell Rory it’s not. I tell Rory the referendum is about two people getting married.

Rory tells me marriage is about having children.

I tell him it’s not. I tell him people who can’t have children also get married. Post-menopausal women. Men who have had a vasectomy. People who don’t wish to procreate. I ask him if these marriages are invalid in his eyes.

Rory doesn’t want to know.

I tell him the supreme court has decided a married couple are a family.

He still doesn’t want to to know because this man, as it’s becoming clear, is not interested in facts when he can have his own private fantasy instead.

I ask Rory about the interesting robe he’s wearing and the elaborate clasp he uses to hold it together.


Is that the emblem of an ancient equestrian order? I ask him.

No, he says.

Are you a front for Opus Dei?


Are you the Order of the Holy Sepulchre?

No, he replies.

Then who exactly are you?

That’s when Rory goes off message and tells me something he shouldn’t.

We’re the Irish Society for Tradition, Family and Property.

Are you? I ask. And how long have you existed?

About fifty years, he replies.

Really? Fifty years?


Are you a private company?




Fair enough.

Sharon appears, not by magic but by coincidence since this is Limerick, this is the Market and this is how things happen when lunatic fringe groups try to overwhelm the common decency of Limerick people.  Sharon has her son Pete with her, raised by two mothers and not obviously suffering from having three horns on his head.

Irish Society for Christian Civilisation

This is my son, Sharon tells Rory. He was raised by two women.

Rory recoils.

Look at him, Sharon says.

Rory looks at me.

Look at him, I say.

Rory looks at Sharon.

Look at him, says Sharon.

Rory looks at me.

Look at him, I say.

Eventually, Rory looks at Pete. It’s clear that he has never imagined a real, genuine human being raised by a same-sex couple. Rory seems perturbed.

Rory O Hanlon lectures mother and son

Shake his hand, says Sharon.

Pete appears a little disgusted but he extends his hand and Rory reaches out. This territory seems new to Rory.

Ask him how he is, Sharon says.

Rory says nothing, so Pete explains that he’s just fine, that the two women who raised him did a great job and that he doesn’t understand why Rory is trying to stop his mother being married.

Rory, we all agree later, is the least effective campaigner we ever met. We all agree that Rory is utterly without facts, arguments or even a firm conviction. Everyone is baffled. Why did a man without facts go on a mission to Limerick? Why did he voluntarily get himself eaten alive?

It gets worse for Rory, unfortunately when he engages in an argument over the religious anti-gay pamphlet he and his caped crusaders have been handing out.

Let’s have a look at your ten reasons why gay people shouldn’t get married, Rory is told, by an angry passer-by.

Point 1. It isn’t marriage.  

That’s right. It isn’t marriage. We’re voting to make  it marriage. Bullshit!

Point 2. It violates natural law. 

We have only one law in this republic and it it isn’t your law. Bullshit!

A crowd begins to gather. Rory smiles manfully.

Point 3. It denies a child a mother or a father.

Divorce and separation do that.  Not gays. Bullshit.

Irish Society for Christian Civilisation Rory O'Hanlon

Point 4. It validates the homosexual lifestyle. 

In other words, you hate gays. Bullshit.

Point 5. It turns a moral wrong into a civil right.  

Don’t lecture me about morals.  Bullshit.

Point 6. It does not create a family but a naturally sterile union.  

Are you telling post-menopausal women they can’t get married? Bullshit.

The crowd begins to murmur support.

Point 7. It defeats the State’s purpose of benefitting marriage.  

Don’t tell me the State’s purpose. Bullshit.

Point 8. It imposes its acceptance on all society.

You don’t get to veto other people’s lives. Bullshit.

Point 9. It is the cutting edge of the sexual revolution.

Sorry kid. You’ve missed that by about fifty years. Bullshit.

Point 10. It offends God. 

I don’t believe in your god so don’t give me this bullshit.

Rory looks at his feet as light applause breaks out. His golden clasp glistens in the weak sun, a lion rampant with papal cross. He declines to explain where the image came from.

Is that the insignia from some equestrian order? I ask.


Are you Opus Dei?


Are you the Knights of the Order of the Sepulchre?


The Knights Who Say Ni?


Never mind. Are you Knights?


Then why are you wearing that ridiculous robe? Don’t you think it’s a bit gay?

Rory doesn’t answer so I challenge him.

Don’t you think gays deserve to suffer like everyone else?

What? he says.

Let them get married, I tell him.

Later I discover that Rory has not been entirely honest with me. The Irish Society for Christian Civilisation, named on the pamphlets he’s handing out, is indeed a limited company registered in Ireland, and the same Rory O’Hanlon is a company director. If, as he claimed, it was over fifty years old, he must have founded it when he was a babe in arms, but actually, the truth is more prosaic.  According to company records, it was set up in 2004, and that, to the best of my knowledge, is not fifty years ago. It seems Rory’s Christian beliefs allow him to tell direct barefaced lies.

Oddly, when asked the title of his group, Rory seemed to slip. Instead of calling it the Irish Society for Christian Civilisation, he called it the Irish Society for Defence of Tradition, Family and Property, perhaps unconsciously echoing the title of its parent organisation, the American Society for Defence of Tradition, Family and Property.


Rory, by the way, is a brother of Ardal O’Hanlon, otherwise known as Father Dougal and not a man remotely associated with such strange ideas.

Father Ted comes to Limerick, however vicariously.

As we leave, I tell Rory that I hope this has helped him to re-evaluate his own prejudices, though I don’t have high hopes.


More about Rory
















Favourites Religion

Ancient longing for power behind religious opposition to same-sex marriage amendment

Let us not be under any illusion that religiously-driven opposition to the marriage equality amendment has anything to do with marriage, or with children.  Let us not delude ourselves that it has anything to do with concern for society.  Let’s not pretend it has any relation to ethics, morals or the greater good of society.

Let’s not even imagine that it’s motivated by religious conviction, because it is not.

The opposition to marriage equality is all about power.  This is all about an ancient privileged class using religion as a flag of convenience.  It’s about a profoundly undemocratic tendency staking out its territory, reacting with fury as the formerly-compliant Irish peasantry yet again dare to make their own mind up without waiting to be told what to think.

Though its spokesemen and spokeswomen might be unaware of it, they form part of an unbroken chain of privilege that goes all the way back to medieval times, even though individually they might not all have grown up in privileged circumstances, but that’s how privilege works.  Some have it, others compete for it and some are destined always to be ground under foot.

Order of the Sepulchre  Iona Institute

The likes of the Iona Institute, while undeniably at the shabby end of the yearning curve, are also the most vocal, since that’s what aspiring aristocrats are like when they’re still mere squires hoping for better.  Opus Dei, on the other hand, is an altogether more Patrician brand of ideology, deeper and broader than the shrill salesmen of Iona, but still part of the same continuum, longing for the return of a time when they ruled benevolently over a peaceful and compliant Irish people.

And there’s the problem.

The Irish in recent years haven’t been doing what they were told.  They voted for divorce. They legalised contraception. They decriminalised homosexuality. They closed the Magdalene laundries.   They abolished the industrial schools. They stopped condemning single mothers.

Such impertinence was never a problem in the days when princes of the Church, men like Cardinal Paul Cullen and Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, bestrode Ireland in their colossal hubris, and yet the likes of McQuaid and Cullen were anathema to the covert power structure that gave rise to Opus Dei and its latter-day bargain-basement half-sibling, the Iona Institute.

The last thing such tendencies needed or wanted was an ostentatious display of influence.  These are movements that operate in the shadows, emerging perforce only in the form of obviously proletarian spokesmen like David Quinn and slightly-less proletarian demagogues like Breda O’Brien as the need arises.

Now, I know full well that this is beginning to sound like a demented version of a Dan Brown novel, but that’s  the territory you find yourself in whenever you contemplate silly constructs like Iona and Opus Dei.  The madness is contagious, but still it exists, and therefore, to reiterate, there are people who would always prefer to remain in the shadows.  People David and Breda will never meet.

The men with their hands through the hole in David Quinn’s back will never emerge from the half-light because these are not the sort who benefit from the full glare of the sun. These are the sort who prosper in the penumbra, pulling the strings of hopeful dancing puppets like Quinn, even though he will never be fully welcome at their table.  The tragedy is that he knows it, yet he can’t hide it any more than he manages to hide the accent he grew up with, though he tries, embarrassingly.

That perhaps is the most telling thing about a man such as Quinn, and at the same time the thing we most cringe at, on his behalf.  Not one of Quinn’s puppet-masters tries to disguise the accent of his birth, and why would he?  After all, that accent speaks of centuries of privilege.

Does anyone seriously think the likes of Clongowes Wood sprang spontaneously out of the native rock when the English left this island?  Does any Irish person seriously believe that this is not a society riven by class based on catholic privilege?

It’s true that the aristocracy existed in Ireland before the arrival of the Normans, but it is also true that a parallel class retained privilege based not on Irishness but on adherence to power and later on allegiance to Rome, and that class continued to hold privilege for the same 800 years that the Wolfe Tones banjoed on about.  I never heard those musical freedom fighters resisting the power of the other colonial class.

It suited the covert privileged Rome-based class to promote the Catholic persecution narrative and it still suits them, because that story writes them out of history, which is fine.  As always, in every story where poor people seek freedom, the most convenient story to tell them is the one that suits you most, and in the case of Ireland, the best tale was the one about Catholic oppression.

It’s still the best tale, even though, ironically, when the Brits left in 1922, a new oppressor emerged in the form of the Rome-based conservative ideologues who immediately set about getting rid of every civil liberty imposed on us by the jackboot of British imperialism.  They eliminated divorce.  They got rid of contraception. They ramped up the industrial schools. They introduced the crudest form of literary censorship anywhere outside of Albania.

These people, who were always in power, seamlessly took over control of the medical profession and the law where their descendants remain to this day.

These people were never persecuted or oppressed, though they would like you to accept otherwise.   These people would like you to believe that somehow they represent a traditional version of Irish society when in fact they represent an ancient tyrannical tendency that we thought we had thrown off, but which in reality we still fight against.

Organisations such as the ridiculous self-styled Iona Institute, contain people who are also members of the equestrian orders that invaded the Holy Land as crusaders.  This is not Monty Python humour.  This is fact.

The marriage equality referendum means nothing to the mindset of this movement.  It has nothing to do with religion or principle, but it has everything to do with power and pragmatism.

If they lose, they lose and they’ll move on to the next fight.  If they win, they’ll plan to repeal some other advance of the tolerant society.  It might be divorce.  It might be contraception.  Who can tell?

We can understand the mind of the ideologue, but who can grasp the intentions of ancient power-hunger?




Politics Religion

Jiving at the authoritarian crossroads. John Waters launches his latest moral crusade

First Families First.

That’s what the latest pressure group is called, fronted by John Waters, who has finally recovered from the emotional pain he endured when an openly gay man said he was homophobic.

John Waters showed considerable moral fortitude in getting over over such a savage attack — an assault most of us would never recover from, even with the application of forty or fifty grand from RTE.  I don’t know how he managed it, but he did, and fair play to him for being so strong.

He’s back, bigger and badder than ever, and still beating the same old drum that he bought from Sinéad O Connor all those years ago.

Mothers and Fathers don’t matter any more.  First Families are what it’s all about these days.  Opus Dei is so last week.

When I heard this name, I thought it was a joke. Was it about the American First Family? Was it a spoof on Battlestar Galactica? Was it some kind of Enid Blyton parody? The First Family Goes Mad on Yokes.

But then I remembered that John Waters does not do humour.  If his name was attached to this thing, we’d better take it seriously or he’d start quoting people like Heidegger and Teilhard de Chardin.  Nobody could stand up to that.

John’s latest pressure-group / ego-vehicle is called First Families First, consisting of nothing more than himself, Kathy Sinnott and one Gerry Fahey, a man I’m sure I should have heard of but can’t quite call to mind offhand.

Interestingly, in the video of Waters’s stumbling speech introducing the latest pressure group, we notice — of all people — David Quinn.  Who’d have guessed it?

Dave is flanked by Enda Sherlock, a man with UKIP connections, of whom more another time.

John Waters David Quinn 001

No.   Wait a minute.

Let’s talk about him now.  Here’s Enda with everyone’s favourite xenophobe.

farage1 sherlock

Now why on earth would David Quinn, founder of the Iona Institute pressure group, be associated with a known UKIP sympathiser, and more to the point, why would he turn up at this launch?

This man has more powers of bilocation than Padre Pio, since he also has to fulfil his onerous duties with Mothers and Fathers Matter, also known as Opus Dei, and also with Legatus, the international organisation of Catholic businessmen.

Would it suggest to any thinking person that this is yet another sock-puppet for Quinn?

More to the point, how did it come about that an organisation consisting of three people gained national media coverage?

To the best of my knowledge, neither John Waters, Kathy Sinnott nor Gerry Fahey have ever achieved any national recognition as people whose opinion is of more than average weight.  Waters might have gained a certain profile as someone who managed to get a job as an opinion writer, and Sinnott might be known as a failed politician, but other than that, it’s hard to see why the private opinions of these three constitute news.

Off the top of my head, I could think of not three but a hundred and three people who hold equally interesting and challenging views on both sides of the discussion.

Is it simply that John Waters knows people in the media and is therefore considered more worthy of reporting than anyone else?

And is it simply a coincidence that David Quinn should happen to be sitting there as Waters announced his manifesto, such as it is, complete with mumbling and grunting.

Boiled down to its basics, the manifesto Waters laid out appears to be based on his anger towards the mother of his child, combined with the absurd and inarticulate notion that the constitution requires an irrelevant addition.

John Waters wants something in the constitution about “natural procreative activity”.

In his world, this is a real thing, and furthermore, it has something to do with marriage equality.

What on earth is going on in this man’s mind?

More interestingly, what is going on in David Quinn’s mind as he watches Waters mumbling such tosh?

Favourites Sexuality

Lawyers For Yes tear apart every last Opus Dei lie about marriage equality

Lawyers for Yes is a new group, much as Mothers and Fathers Matter is a new group, but with one major difference.

While Mothers and Fathers Matter is a front for Opus Dei, and is utterly unconcerned with facts or truth despite its religious motivation, Lawyers for Yes is composed of people who actually know something.

They don’t have “legal advisors”.  They are actual legal experts.  Senior Counsel.  Experienced solicitors.  People who understand the law and who are in a position to say precisely what the implications of the proposed Marriage Equality amendment are.

And they have produced a guide that blows every last lie of the Iona Institute and MAFM out of the water.

Here are some of the points they make.

The potential to have children is not a defining characteristic of marriage. The courts have consistently emphasised that a married couple without children is a ‘family’.

This is one of the most pernicious lies put out by Opus Iona.  The constitution emphatically does not define family in terms of children.

As the document points out

The State does not require opposite-sex couples, whom it permits to marry, to be fertile, to be of child-bearing age, or to make a commitment to procreate. It is the commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the having of children, that is the sine qua non of civil marriage.

It continues as follows.

The view that marriage must be open to the procreation of children is demeaning to couples who are incapable of procreating. It is likewise demeaning to couples who begin such a relationship when they no longer have the capacity to conceive. It is demeaning to adoptive parents to suggest that their family is any less a family and any less entitled to respect and concern than a family with procreated children. It is also demeaning to couples who voluntarily decide not to have children.

Civil partnership

On the fallacy that civil partnership is the equivalent of marriage for same-sex couples, the lawyers explain clearly that the key difference which continues to exist between civil partnership and marriage is the fact that civil partnerships do not have constitutional protection or recognition.

The State is not obliged to guard with special care and protect from attack the institution of civil partnership. Civil partnerships are not constitutionally recognised families and, therefore, are not considered to be a fundamental group in society.

A crucial consequence of this is that the legislation providing for civil partnership could be amended or repealed.


Children deprived of their mothers

The Iona / Opus Dei alliance is promoting the nonsense that same-sex marriage will somehow deprive children of their parents, a position that the lawyers have little time for, dismissing it with mild contempt.

The argument that “a child has a right to a father and a mother” presupposes that marriage equality will deprive them of a father and a mother. The overwhelming majority of children in Ireland are born to co-habiting or married heterosexual parents. Not one of these children will be deprived of their mother or their father by marriage equality.


Mum and Dad do best

By the same token, they have scant regard for the desperate claim that children raised by a man and a woman do better than those raised by two people of the same sex.  Neither the Psychology Society of Ireland (PSI) nor the American Psychological Association agree with this claim, and the APA  has explicitly dismissed the claims of the  Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage, quoted by Iona / Opus Dei, as  outdated and contrary to the position of professional psychological bodies.

To quote the APA, which is actually qualified to pronounce on psychological matters, in distinct contrast to both Iona and Opus Dei,

On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the APA and other health professional and scientific organisations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.

That seems fairly clear, but  the president of the PSI has something to add.

Empirical studies have failed to find reliable differences between the children of same-sex and heterosexual couples with regard to their gender identity, gender role behaviour, sexual orientation, mental health, or psychological and social adjustment.

Next time a spokesperson from Iona/Opus Dei appears on the radio or TV, can we hope that a journalist will confront them with these statements?


Same sex marriage will not give people the right to adopt a child.  Nobody has that right now and nobody will have it in the future, even if same-sex marriage becomes legal.   Adoption is about the suitability of a person or a couple to adopt, and same-sex couples already have the right to apply for adoption.  This right will not be affected by the referendum, since adoption does not require people to be married.

As Lawyers for Yes point out

The Children and Family Relationships Act, 2015 allows adoption by same-sex couples. A same-sex couple, who are civil partners, and who live together, may apply jointly for an adoption order, in the same way that a married couple can. 


as they are civil partners and not a married couple, they will not have the constitutional protection that a married couple, who have adopted a child, have. If the referendum passes, then those couples may marry and their adopted children will have the same Constitutional protection as adopted children of opposite-sex married couples.

This is what Iona /Opus Dei don’t want to happen.  They do not want the adopted children of same-sex couples to have the same constitutional protections as all other children, which seems rather strange, since they present themselves as defenders of children.

Assisted reproduction

Iona/ Opus Dei have opposed assisted reproduction for heterosexual couples since the procedure became available.  As the document points out, this is the primary way in which infertile couples become parents, whether they happen to be man and woman or whether they are of the same sex.  It has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

Donor-assisted Human Reproduction

The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 sets out a comprehensive scheme for the attribution of parenthood in assisted reproduction. The Act provides that the legally recognised mother of any child is the woman that gives birth to him or her. Provided that adequate consent is obtained from all parties, the Act allows for the woman’s spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant to be recognised as the second legal parent of the child. The Act deals with opposite-sex and same-sex couples in precisely the same way, hence, donor assisted reproduction raises the same issues for all parents, regardless of their orientation. 

In other words, this has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.


Surrogacy can only be addressed through careful regulation. But these issues apply equally to surrogacy arrangements entered into by opposite-sex and same-sex couples alike. Again, very many of the couples availing of surrogacy are heterosexual. Surrogacy is availed of by couples in Ireland without regulation at the present time. This usually involves the couple travelling abroad to a country where commercial surrogacy is available. The passing or otherwise of the Marriage Equality Referendum will not affect this. The only change will be when legislation is introduced to regulate surrogacy.

Again, in other words, surrogacy has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

Boiled down to its simplest terms, the No side has only one argument: same-sex couples should not raise children.

Since we know from the testimony of experts that same-sex couples raise children just as well as all the single parents in the country, who comprise 30% of our society, and all the heterosexual couples, this is not just plain nonsense but a deliberate, cynical lie.

The only other alternative is that these people simply have a profound distaste for the very notion of same-sex relationships, and there’s only one word for that.

The prejudice that dare not speak its name.





Here’s the full document.  Read it and use it.

Download (PDF, 1.6MB)





Gayhadist militants vow to deprive children of their Mums and Dads

Tonight, my brothers, hissed Abu Bakr-al-Boopsie, narrowing his eyes and checking his rock-like abs in the moonlit water as his Navy-with-a-slight-hint-of-Cerise Seals  paddled  silently towards their destination.  Tonight we shall know glory!

It was late, and they’d trekked  many clicks without a shower, carrying this inflatable boat, finding their way only by Gaydar.  His men were sweaty and unshaven  though  still incredibly hot, and their Gayhadist designer uniforms were spotless.  We cannot lose, my brothers, he grinned.  Now, who has brought the stun grenades?

I have, my Sheikh, replied a slim, oiled young man.  And also the Madonna CDs.

And  the Kylie tapes?

Yes, my Sheikh, said a heavily-muscled shaven-headed woman in a Young Munsters jersey.   

Abu Bakr-al-Boopsie nodded in manly approval.  He was nervous but not afraid, for his cause was just and his stubble was feeling just right.

Tonight, my brothers, he told  his elite team.  Tonight we strike a blow against families everywhere, for this is the night that a million teams of militant Gayhadists set out to deprive all children of their Mums and Dads.  Not a child on the planet will be left with a Mum or a Dad when we have finished this night’s work.

Moo-ha-ha, chanted his followers.

Moo-ha-ha agreed the Sheikh, absently. Hush now, my brothers, for we approach our prey.

And so it came to pass. that Abu Bakr-al-Boopsie that night abducted 324 Mums and 413 Dads, while his fellow Gayhadist leaders took a total of 32,537 Mums and 53,972 Dads.

It was to be the first of many Mum-and-Dad-depriving nights and when the Gayhadists were finished, not a child in the whole world had a Mum and  a Dad.

For that is the aim of Gayhadists everywhere.   To deprive a child of a Mum or a Dad.