The hateful leaflets distributed by the Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage this weekend contained the swansong of an Ireland that finally pass away on referendum day, says Rob Buchanan.
No matter how I have steeled myself to confront hatred and lies masquerading as ‘Christian love’ and ‘family values’ in the run-up to Marriage Equality Referendum, I was still shocked by the filth contained in the loathsome leaflets distributed by the so-called Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (ADFAM). Entitled: ‘Why Should I Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage?’ their poisonous, slanderous lies would not look out of place at a meeting of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Some of the claims were laughably absurd. “Gays are more likely to get cancer”, and our life expectancy is 60 years. We are “more than average, subject to alcoholism, illegal drug abuse, depression, and suicide.” Another pearl of ‘scientific’ wisdom is that children brought up by couples other than a man and woman “are subject to eight times more harm, and are 50 times more likely to die of injuries inflicted on them”.
The deeply disturbing lie, that gays are more likely to abuse children, goes far beyond nasty campaign tactics. The use of it is outright incitement to hatred. To think that anyone who peddles this loathsome rubbish would then dare to use the word “family” in the name of their little hate club. Can you imagine a vulnerable LGBT young person reading this? Or a child with LGBT parents or loved ones?
There is also the damage such leaflets are doing to the reputation of decent Christians who support marriage equality. They were being handed out at a Divine Mercy event at the RDS. Surely someone must know those involved. Surely the legitimate organisers of the Divine Mercy will want to identify the perpetrators and distance themselves from them? There are plenty of decent people who for whatever reason do not agree with marriage equality, but surely even these people must be revolted by such disgusting lies?
So how do we address this type of propaganda? One thing’s for sure; we cannot allow the enemies of equality to remake us in their image. We cannot stoop to anger and retaliation. We must remember what Pride is all about. Pride means more than just being unashamed of being who we are. It means maintaining courage in the face of adversity and dignity in the face of hatred.
Often that dignity means being respectful of people’s beliefs, even though they are hurtful. It means being confident enough to answer the falsehoods and confront the howling insults of the mob. But we can only do this in the knowledge that we are on the side of love. We must not let this repulsive trash tarnish that fact.
Marriage equality will be our legacy for future generations of Ireland. Our children and their children will live in a country where they can marry the person they love, regardless of gender. What will the legacy be from people like ADFAM? Ours is a righteous cause and it doesn’t require lies or misdirection to get people to accept it.
Apart from the detestable abuse in this leaflet, what really comes across in the tone and language is fear. This is clearly drafted by people who are absolutely terrified of the idea of marriage equality. I would even go so far as to say that the individuals who constructed these desperate lies don’t believe them themselves. But they do believe that two men or two women getting married will mark the end of a certain type of Ireland. The power of the Catholic Church will have fully come to its conclusion when this referendum is passed, and equality and self-direction will be on the agenda not only for LGBTs, but ultimately for women. And that’s what they’re ultimately scared off: the fall of patriarchy.
The ADFAM leaflet is the swansong of people who are acutely aware that their time is up. We must hammer the final nail in the coffin on May 22.
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