Two Referenda

Ok, so I’ll say it right out, you’re used to a better class of rant from this website; but as I’m the one drinking the leftover rum tonight I felt it fell to me.

If you’re reading this, you know that on May 22nd, there will be a referendum in Ireland on whether or not we should extend equal civil rights to all of our citizens.

-Checks calendar-
Hmm… it actually is the 21st century? And there are people living in a democratic republic who are not only unsure, but are actively campaigning against equal rights for all citizens ? Amazing.

I’ll admit, that was slightly on the nose.
I’ll also admit I don’t care.

I’m not the first one to say this, in fact I’m pretty sure I heard it first from our resident Blumpkine-in-Chief (but I don’t want to falsely attribute it to himself):

If anyone can provide me with a single, valid, well reasoned argument, as to why we should not extend the same civil rights to our LGBT etc. citizens as we do to our straight ones, I myself will vote no.

Points to bear in mind:

1. “Because we’re Catholics” is not a valid reason. You can be a Catholic all you want and that’s your right, just as it’s someone else’s right not to be.
The rules of your club don’t get to affect those who choose not to join though. Same sex couples can’t get married in a Catholic church with a Catholic ceremony? Fine. It’s against the rules of the club.
Same sex couples can’t have a civil marriage, anywhere else in the country because the Catholics don’t like it? Nope. That’s not on.
The “Catholics of Ireland club” and the “Citizens of Ireland club” may have an overlap, but they’re not the same thing.

2. “Won’t somebody think of the children?!?” is also not a valid argument. This referendum is specifically regarding the rights of same sex couples to get married. Children are not involved. This has nothing to do with adoption laws. This has nothing to do with parental rights. This has nothing to do with surrogacy. Children are not involved.

If you can’t think of said single, valid, well reasoned argument, I’ll be voting yes.
And you should too.
Because you’ve just shown there is no reason to vote otherwise.

Now, remember I said there was going to be another referendum?

The number of people that genuinely didn’t know about the second referendum shocked me a little, but I can sort of understand it.

The same sex marriage referendum has been getting so much of the headlines and airtime that it’s completely overshadowed the fact that there will be a second referendum on the day; this one to lower the age at which you can run for president to 21.

Ever since I was about sixteen and I started to pay attention in any way at all, I’ve maintained that as soon as you’re eligible to vote you should be eligible to run. Whether it’s for a General or a Presidential election.

Literally the only argument I’ve heard against this in the last decade and a half is “Someone that young wouldn’t possibly have the experience needed to do the job”.

My response? If you don’t think they’re qualified, don’t feckin’ vote for them! Don’t ban them from giving it a shot. Honestly if we were to take all of the people who’ve made it blatantly obvious that they shouldn’t be in government and banned them from taking part in the next election, then I’m fairly certain you’d be handed a completely blank piece of paper as a ballot on the next polling day.

Unfortunately, passing this referendum will only lower the running age of a Presidential election to 21. Not to 18.
It will bring the running age in line with that of Dáil Éireann though, so it’s a start.
Lowering both of them to a point where anyone allowed to vote is allowed to run is another fight for another day.

In summation, on May 22nd 2015 there will be two referenda held in Ireland:
One on whether or not same sex marriage should be legalised.
The other on whether or not the age you are eligible to run for president should be lowered to 21.
And if you believe in living in a democracy where all citizens have equal rights you should vote yes to both.

Now this bit is important:
Every poll I’ve heard of shows that the young people of Ireland are far more likely to vote in favour of the same rights for all of our citizens, and treating each other equally.

Unfortunately, it is these same young people who are less likely to vote based on past election and referenda voter turn out.
I think it’s fair to say that most people reading this particular blog are probably registered to vote, but if you’re not sure, or if you know someone who isn’t sure, you can check on:

If you’re not registered and you’re not certain how to go about it, there’s still time.
Go here to find out how:

Please register.
Please vote.
And please vote yes.

Two Referenda

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