Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cluck cluck cluck....drumstick anyone?

So a majority of members on the  All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (APOCC) decided not to recommend changing the definition of the family in the Irish constitution. They decided to leave the definition of the family as being based on marriage due to fears it could lead to a divisive referendum on gay marriage.  Huh?

There are 77,000 cohabiting couples according to the last census and 150,000 other families headed by a single parent and 1,500 same sex couples. So all of those groupings are not going to be families because of a threat of gay marriage and a divisive debate. According to coverage of the issue on Today with Pat Kenny (real player required - first 25 minutes of the show or so) the committee were presented with up to 20 different definitions of the family and not one of those could be used?

Have to say if I was a lone parent or a heterosexual couple cohabiting (raising children or not) I would not be much amused at the chickening out by the FF, FG, and PD members of the committee. Does this make the One Parent Family payment illegal? Are families led by widows and widowers now not families any more? If I were a TD I'd be worried, Mary Harney had to back track on remarks on lone parents a number of years ago, imagine going canvassing in many urban areas next year and being accosted by the many people who are members of these 'non-families' or have family members who are never going to be 'familied'.

This divisive referendum 'would fail' according to Bertie speaking from India. RTE keep calling the issue 'single sex' unions? That’s a new one on me linguistically. Whilst I don't favour the referendum route either (and indeed many scholars challenge the fact that a referendum would be needed in any case) surely some wording could be arrived at that removed marriage and respected the very many family forms in Ireland.    


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