Monday, March 4, 2024

Why I am planning to vote Yes/No

Ireland will have 2 referendums on next Friday 8th February 2024. Both referendums are related to family status, but they are separate. I am planning to vote Yes in the first and No in the second. My reasons are influenced by this article and this article.

  1. The first referendum concerns a commitment in the current constitution to support "the family based on marriage". The proposal is to replace this with a commitment to support families whether based on marriage or a "durable relationship". I think this is a welcome change reflecting the fact that many modern families do not consist of a married couple and their children e.g. single parents.
    Some people have complained that the new wording will effectively make people who have consciously chosen not to get married still have marriage type responsibilities. My take on this is to have no sympathy to people who have formed a family and are trying to evade the consequent responsibilities.
  2. The second referendum is not quite as straight forward. The existing clause in the constitution says that the state shall value the caring done by women within the family. This clause has rightly been criticised for being sexist (when the constitution was drafted back in .the 1930s, nobody thought about house husbands). As the FLAC article states, it is unfortunate that we don't have the option to simply delete the offending clause. Instead the referendum proposes to replace the clause with a new one which values caring provided within the family. This might seem innocuous, but disability rights campaigners have said this wording will be used to force family members to do all of the caring. I am not as clear in my opinion on this referendum, but if in doubt I will vote no.

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