Thursday 27 October 2016

I'll be voting 'Yes' in same-sex referendum, says ex-president Mary McAleese


Former President Mary McAleese
Former President Mary McAleese

Former President Mary McAleese has said she is voting "Yes" in the same-sex marriage referendum saying that it's "a human rights issue".

Ms McAleese, who is known for her strong Catholic faith but has also challenged the Church authorities on occasion, said she and her husband, Martin, support the constitutional change.

"It is a debate about children. People have been saying it's about children. We believe it to be about Ireland's gay children and about their future and about the kind of future we want for Ireland.

"We want, in the words of the Proclamation, the children of a nation to be cherished equally," she told Newstalk.

"The adult children, the children yet unborn, the gay children yet unborn - we want them to be born into a world where if they fall in love with someone they can express that love fully," she added.

"I'm hoping very much, my husband and I are both hoping very much, that it will be passed," Ms McAleese said.

"We believe it to be a human rights issue."

Her comments came as the Catholic bishops said they had yet to decide what stance they would take on civil marriage if the referendum, which they oppose, is passed.

Earlier, the bishops' spokesman had pointed to a statement last March. In this statement, the hierarchy had said they would reconsider taking part in the civil element of the marriage ceremony, if gay marriage were permitted in Ireland.

Already Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said that no church will be obliged to carry out gay wedding ceremonies which are against that church's laws.

Gay rights campaigner, Tiernan Brady, said he had no comment on the bishops' statements.

"This referendum is about civil marriage. Nobody is seeking to change any church's rights or laws," Mr Brady said.

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