In May 2015, Ireland
, becoming the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage
by nationwide popular vote
. And it wasn't even close -- by 62 to 38 percent, what has long been thought of as one of the most religiously conservative bastions of Europe
has embraced the rights of a population popularly reviled by religious edifices. If nothing else, this speaks to the better angels of human nature, and the propensity of people coming up in an age of somewhat greater enlightenment
and access to competing points of information
to attend to the message of love
and reconciliation underlying most of the world's religions, instead of the divisive power/control structure overlaid upon them. Indeed, the Church itself was split on the proposition, with most Church leaders pounding the stones to plead for its defeat but some influential members of clergy calling for its passage. Many political leaders of Ireland hailed the decision, some noting that gay family members and friends will at least be able to share the same rights as their parents and siblings.
Interestingly, this comes at a pivotal time for gay marriage in the United States
. One may recall that the 2012 balloting process
saw gay marriage prevail in the popular vote in several US states, hastening the question of when it will be made legal throughout the whole nation. This may well be decided by the US Supreme Court in the summer of 2015, which has heard cases questioning whether states can in good conscience continue to ban gay marriage for no discernible reason other then to press mindless hatred of gays. Now, if one examines the US Supreme Court, one finds that amongst its members four firmly favor gay marriage legalization (those perhaps not coincidentally being its three Jewish
members, and one Catholic Latina
), three firmly oppose it (those three being Roman Catholic
), with the last two being the potential swing votes, Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts -- both being Irish Catholic. (It has been noted, for my benefit, that Irish Catholics are "Roman Catholic," but Ireland has a direction all its own.) Both of these Irish Catholic judges have gone halfsies on gay marriage cases before, with each supporting the legality of gay marriage in some situations (one voting to toss out a federal ban on gay marriage, the other voting to allow gay marriage in California). But will their Irish Catholic pride in this new step by their ancestor nation steel them to finally fully support gay marriage in the decision now being decided? If the US reaches deep enough into its heart to find that gay people ought to be able to marry who they love, then perhaps Ireland can shine brighter still for having shown the way to that decision.