The Irish vote a resounding ‘no’ to renaming ‘marriage’

Donegal, Ireland
Credit: Ainars Djatlevskis,

There has been a bit of shock in Ireland recently as the country’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, resigned after his progressive government and the political elite of that country suffered a crushing defeat in recent referendums.

Varadkar was seeking to make two changes in that country’s constitution.

The first involved redefining marriage.

The first referendum proposed changing the pivotal role of marriage as the foundation for family and society,” writes Nick Park in his article for Premier Christianity. “The idea was to replace marriage with “durable relationships” (whatever that means).”

The second thing that Varadkar wanted to do was remove the “reference to ‘mothers’ not being obliged by economic necessity to neglect their responsibilities in the home to mothers.”

While some suggested it could be easily changed by simply adding the word father, Park, who serves as Executive Director of Evangelical Alliance Ireland, said that Varadkar muddied it by changing it to, “Families are good for caring for people.”

In addition to Varadkar’s government, the major opposition parties and the political, academic, and media elite, along with several major advocacy groups, supported the changes to the constitution.

The government poured thousands of tax dollars into the campaign urging people to vote yes, and even the opinion polls said it was a lock to win.

But when the vote was tallied, it was overwhelmingly defeated. While the Irish elite voted yes, the people of Ireland gave it a resounding ‘no.’:

  • 67% said no to changing marriage to ‘durable relationships, and
  • 74% said no to changing the word ‘mother’ as the carer for the family.

As The Guardian, the UK’s leading left-wing paper, noted, “Ireland has overwhelmingly rejected proposed changes to references on family and women in its constitution, delivering a rebuke to a government that had urged voters not to take a ‘step backwards’”.

It was such a significant rebuke, that Varadkar was forced to resign.

“So where does this leave Irish Christians?” asks Park. “Certainly we can draw much encouragement from the fact that the Irish people, by a two-thirds majority, have voted to keep marriage as the legal foundation for families and for society in general.”

Park also added that while there has been a decline in the mainstream churches across the country, “Evangelical churches are springing up all over Ireland, often meeting in industrial units, community centres, and even cinemas.”

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