In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worldly Encounters.”
Today, the Irish people voted on marriage equality, on an amendment to their constitution that would add the following language: Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.
I’ve been hearing about it from my young Irish friends for months now on social media; they are all in the “Vote YES” camp and have been feeling frustrated by those who are pushing for a NO vote. These young women – and the young women around me on a daily basis – have no problem whatsoever with the idea of marriage equality. To them, what is important in a marriage is the person you love, not their gender or their sex – or yours.
Apparently, many young Irish people agree with them. I’ve been impressed and moved by those who are tweeting #hometovote on Twitter today as they travel from all over the world to return to Ireland to cast their vote. Though voting by mail is the rule here in Oregon – and, I am sure, would have helped many of those expat Irish voters save precious time and money – going to the polls in person has a special significance. It is, quite literally, a way to stand up and be counted.
And what do these people who want marriage equality really want? I would explain – to an alien who had no idea what makes someone human – that they want love and commitment, and the rights that the word “marriage” gives to those who make that commitment in our society. If the concepts were still unclear, perhaps I’d play this old Depeche Mode song:
I want somebody to share / share the rest of my life
share my innermost thoughts / know my intimate details
someone who’ll stand by my side / and give me support
and in return / she’ll get my support
she will listen to me / when I want to speak
about the world we live in / and life in general
though my views may be wrong / they may even be perverted
she’ll hear me out / and won’t easily be converted
to my way of thinking / in fact she’ll often disagree
but at the end of it all / she will understand me
I want somebody who cares / for me passionately
with every thought and / with every breath
someone who’ll help me see things / in a different light
all the things I detest / I will almost like
I don’t want to be tied / to anyone’s strings
I’m carefully trying to steer clear of / those things
but when I’m asleep / I want somebody
who will put their arms around me / and kiss me tenderly
though things like this / make me sick
in a case like this / I’ll get away with it
As I write this post, the polls in Ireland have closed, but the results have not yet been tabulated. I don’t know if the first country to put the idea of marriage equality to the popular vote will have seen that referendum pass. I am heartened, however, by the young people of that country and of my own, and I believe that we will soon live in a world where people are free to marry somebody they love.