Socialist Worker 380

Freddie Trevaskis Hoskin of the Liberation campaign, responds to the Referendum victory

The overwhelming support Irish people have shown for marriage equality, online, on the ground and at the ballot box has been stupendous. In a country where just 22 years ago homosexuality was still illegal we now have the right to marry regardless of sex. While the vote was just on marriage the activism and the result were something much more, they were a reaching out, an acceptance and indeed an apology. People all over this country, particularly young people in unaccepting environments have been sent a clear message of validation and hope from their fellow citizens. We are perhaps seeing the beginnings of an Ireland of openness and respect.

The vote is also a huge hit to the old guard of catholic Ireland who fought a despicable and homophobic campaign. The people who brought us Magdalene laundries, bans on contraception and continue to fight against the right to choose are clearly losing their grip on our society. The likes of Breda O’Brien and David Quinn have lost credibility and people now see them for what they really are, hateful bigots. This will hopefully take the wind out of their sails in their future campaigns against the right to choose.

There was huge mobilisation amongst young people with record numbers of registration and many young emigrants returning home to vote. This is the same generation which has been extremely active in pro choice campaigns and marches in the past number of years and is beginning to realise its own political strength.

It is also vital to note the extremely large yes votes in working class communities particularly those who have been active in fighting the water charges. It is clear that across the country ordinary people want a new kind of society and are seeing that they have power to bring it about. The joining of these elements is heartening: economic and social issues are not two separate spheres but are rather intrinsically linked and must be fought for together.

But its important to remember that for the last leg of this struggle, though not the many years of campaigning beforehand, the political establishment was for once on our side. Even if they did very little in terms of achieving the historic result they were at least for once not obstacles to change. This most likely will not be the case in the struggles for more reform.

So it is imperative  we attempt to sustain the mobilisation and politicisation which has occurred during this referendum. We must still fight for the rights of trans people, the right to choose, the rights of migrants and asylum seekers and economic rights such as the right to water. There remains a long battle ahead of us both in terms of LGBTQ rights and in bringing about a society which is built for and by its people. For now though let us celebrate. We have been through a bitter campaign of hatred pitted against love; this time love has won but the fight is far from over. See you all at what is set to be one hell of a Pride parade.

 

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