Two of the most prominent opponents of same-sex marriage in Ireland are homosexual men. In a video ad that has received more than 200.000 hits in less than 3 days Keith Mills and Paddy Manning both say that re-defining marriage would be a terrible mistake.
“There are many people who feel the same way as I do but they’re afraid to speak out because of the extraordinary bullying that’s coming from the yes campaign. We shouldn’t bow to that intimidation,” says Manning in the video.
Mills says, “If gay couples want constitutional protection, put civil partnerships in the constitution. But don’t redefine marriage. True equality recognizes difference. And it doesn’t deliberately take away a child’s right to a mother or a father.”
Mills says children deserve a mother and a father: “For me, marriage is about children and a family, and not a way to measure adult relationships.”
He points out how same-sex relationships have already caused havoc for children: “To have children, gay men have to either adopt or use surrogacy. Surrogacy turns children into commodities. Putting adult desires above the rights of children, having babies made to order and wombs for rent … we’re seeing in other countries how messy this can get with surrogacy cases ending up in the court. And where are the child’s best interests in that?”
Mills warns that approving the government’s amendment would be saying there is no distinction between the union of a man and woman and of two men or two women. There is a difference between the relationships, and to pretend otherwise is wrong: “It’s not a matter of better or worse; it’s a matter of recognizing difference and celebrating diversity. Saying there is no distinction is ridiculous.”
Manning agrees with Mills that same-sex marriage supporters have conducted a campaign of bullying and intimidation: “We shouldn’t be scared of the people who are tearing down the ‘no’ posters. This is not the way a campaign should be run. Family business are being closed, professional careers threatened. We’re told Catholic schools must teach the government’s version of marriage. We should not vote for that.”
Manning also insists, “Recognizing difference is not discrimination.”
He says a same-sex relationship is, in fact, different than a marriage, “because marriage is, at its heart, about children and providing those children with their biological parents.”
Manning also addresses the irony of being called “homophobic” because he is against the redefinition of marriage: “Yeah, I’m homophobic – I scream when I pass the mirror,” he observes sarcastically.