This week, on Friday, Ireland holds a vote. In reality two, but the age of presidential candidates turns out to be pretty uncontroversial. We will vote on whether or not to allow same-sex couples to marry. It is a straightforward question. We will not be asked for ours reasons or thoughts on the matter we will simply tick Yes or No.
We are voting because in our constitution a family consists of a married man and woman. To change our constitution requires a vote. If there is a Yes vote we will now refer to the family as a married couple regardless of sex.
I didn’t write any posts on this so far because I felt I had nothing to contribute. I have shared posts where people have outlined their own personal stories, the people who this vote will directly affect. I am privileged. Nobody had any say in whether I got married except for myself and my husband. It pains me that people have had to speak out about their own relationships, their own feelings and dreams in order to campaign for something that they should have by right, like me. I salute them for doing so. I wish they didn’t have to. Hopefully after Friday people won’t have to again.
I am writing because of the children. We are not voting on surrogacy or adoption, but somehow it has all become mixed up in the one.
I am a big believer that a lot of ignorance is based on fear. There are some who are afraid for the children. Who fear what will happen if children are raised by same-sex couples (please note I am aware of the fact that this is happening and will happen regardless of the vote). This is not the issue we are voting on or debating but it has muddied the waters.
I am not an expert. I am a primary school teacher. I have a degree in psychology and a post-graduate in education and two children of my own but that doesn’t make me an expert on children. It does however mean that I spend a lot of my time with them.
Most children are safe and happy and loved. I have taught children from all different cultures, from all different economic and social backgrounds. Most of these children are happy and eager to learn and play. Sometimes there is a child that I worry about, that I lose sleep over, that I keep notes on, that I refer to our DLP (designated liaison person).
You worry about the children? I will tell you the children I worry about.
The ones who haven’t been fed that morning.
The ones who tell me that they are hungry because they had no dinner.
The ones who are neglected emotionally.
The ones who are neglected physically.
The ones whose parent is being hit.
The ones who have been hit.
The ones who are scared.
The ones who have a parent that passes out.
The ones who know what drunk means, the ones who see it often.
There are hundreds of reasons that I worry about children, having a loving family is not one.
In the time I have been teaching, I have never once worried about a child purely because they are being raised by only a mother, or only a father, or two parents of either sex, or a brother or sister or a foster parent or a guardian. This does not give me cause for concern.
I will tell you what children deserve. They deserve to be loved. And believe me when I tell you, that a child that is born into a family that love it is blessed.
And those people whose fate you will decide, those who you get to choose whether or not they can marry. They deserve to be loved too.
Lets show them that we believe in love on Friday.