I must admit that I am at a bit of a loss on this one. Presently, the Constitution of Ireland requires that couples prove to a family court they have remained separated for four of the preceding five years as part of a petition to dissolve a marriage. Now, a widely heralded amendment is headed to the polls to reduce the separation period to two of the past three. Forgive me for thinking aloud but, what state interest is there in requiring any time frame?
This October twenty-sixth, voters in Ireland will decide at the polls if the country’s prohibition on blasphemy should be removed from the nation’s constitution. It comes for me as a welcome sign of some progress against what otherwise was a trend in Western Europe toward establishing an international blasphemy standard that many regard as censorship and a vehicle for possible criminal prosecution of speech and expression.
While the Irish government has insisted that no persons have been successfully prosecuted for blasphemy since the 1850s, the existence of any such statute serves as leverage by the state to control what its citizens may say or what behavior it considers objectionable. The time for repeal I believe has arrived.
One aspect of American politics I find particularly disappointing is the lack of substance inherent in political platforms of both the Republican and Democrat parties. Since most voters in the United States have only experienced the politics resident in our country, I thought in light of this year’s election it would be worthwhile to experience another point of view that is removed from our current political ideologies.
It seems unfortunate that most of what we see today are mere soundbites of half a dozen topics considered to be of utmost importance to each of the parties — seemingly only designed to inflame emotions and provide the voter with very little information which can be ambiguous at best.
With all constituencies reporting, the Irish citizenry approved a constitutional amendment recognizing gay marriage: Yes 1,201,607; No 734,300.
The Constitution of Ireland permits amendment only by popular vote. A vote of the people for such amendments can provide more legitimacy and acceptance by the public and judging by the margin gay marriage will probably gain acceptance more readily. Nevertheless it does not necessarily engender full acceptance of such partnerships as over seven hundred thousand voters chose otherwise. Some institutions in Irish society will struggle to come to terms with the new direction Ireland is pursuing.
On Friday Irish Citizens went to the polls to vote by referendum on a constitutional amendment allowing same-sex marriage. If passed Ireland will join nineteen other nation states who have legalized such marriages and will be the first to enact the petition by popular referendum.
The topic of the referendum garnered such strong interest it is expected that a large percentage of Ireland’s 3.2 million registered voters will go to the polls. In fact, reportedly, unexpectedly high numbers returned home at their personal expense to cast votes.
While many, primarily Islamic, countries have received much press regarding flagrant abuses of religious and non-religious persons or views, seven of which have death penalty offenses for crimes such as apostasy, the true impact for most of the worlds citizens are not as stark but can be often a suffer a form of punishment, repression and imprisonment of some kind for their beliefs.