For folks in Australia and the United States, Ireland is the forgotten battleground on same-sex marriage. However, what is being proposed there is even more radical than in other jurisdictions. On May 22 the Irish will vote in a referendum to decide whether to alter their constitution to grant a right to same-sex couples to marry.

Ireland’s 1937 constitution has an extraordinarily good section privileging the family. Under Article 41, it “recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.”

Furthermore, says Article 41, the State will “protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State and … pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.”

Since the family is so central to the Irish legal system, changes to an extraordinarily good conception of marriage could have extraordinarily disruptive consequences. What measures will the State take, for instance, to protect same-sex marriage from “attack”?

Above is a clever video clip made by the Iona Institute, one of the leading voices in the No campaign. It sums up one of the most powerful arguments against same-sex marriage: that it deprives a child of a mother or a father.

In this connection, it would pay to listen to this poignant speech to the Iona Institute by an American woman, Heather Barwick, who was raised by a lesbian couple. Based on her own experience, she strongly opposes same-sex marriage because it cheated her of having a dad. Have some tissues handy.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. 

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.