What the GOP could learn from Ireland on gay marriage


Original post from The Washington Post

‘…………..By Jonathan Capehart

People celebrate in Dublin on Saturday as the final vote of the referendum on same-sex marriage is announced. (Aidan Crawley/European Pressphoto Agency)
People celebrate in Dublin on Saturday as the final vote of the referendum on same-sex marriage is announced. (Aidan Crawley/European Pressphoto Agency)

Here’s something you will never hear any of the crop of Republican presidential candidates say on same-sex marriage: “With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people.” Those soothing words came from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny after 62.1 percent of his nation voted in favor of marriage equality on Saturday.

It was a stunning development in one of Europe’s most conservative countries. A nation where the Catholic Church once held great sway. Emphasis on “once.” The resounding victory of same-sex marriage proponents is as clear a sign of independence from the church as you’ll ever see.

Now, the civil rights of a minority should never be put up for popular vote. Tyranny of the majority and all that. Also, sometimes the populace needs a force greater than its collective will to make it do the right thing. But in the case of the Emerald Isle, the people did right all on their own. A marvelous thing.

Pity the GOP field is incapable of seeing same-sex marriage with Irish eyes. Rather than express the humanity advised in the GOP autopsy after the 2012 presidential loss or heeding the voice of young Republicans, the candidatescontort themselves on the question of whether they would even attend a gay wedding. Come on, people!

Maybe they are all hoping the Supreme Court will take them off the hook and rule that there is a constitutional right to marriage for same-sex couples. “The court has spoken,” “rule of law,” blah, blah, blah. A lame tactic, but I’ll take it. This isn’t Ireland. And this certainly isn’t Britain, where conservative Prime Minister David Cameron was a vocal champion of marriage equality and won reelection with overwhelming support. This is America, where once again, the courts will push the nation to live up to its ideal of equal protection under the law. The Supreme Court did it for African Americans in the 20th century and so it must for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans in the 21st.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.  ………………..’

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