My four-year-old was talking about getting married recently. He’s soon to attend his first wedding so he’s curious about many aspects of marriage. We’ve discussed the day his uncle and aunt-to-be have planned – how the day will run (“Aw do I really have to go to the mass part?”), what people wear (“Cool, but not too fancy, can I have a dickie bow?”), what people eat (“I hope there’s cake”). He’s even invented a cool new dance to do at the reception.
He started talking about the girl he would marry. He said that he would wait til he’s at least twenty five to marry, because “a teenager isn’t a real grown-up, you need to be a real grown-up to get married”. Absolutely son.
Then he paused and thoughtfully said “don’t boys always marry girls Mama?”
It’s 2015 I thought. I explained that no, girls could marry girls and boys could marry boys.
Of course, in Ireland right now, that’s not actually the case, but my four-year-old doesn’t even really know what marriage is so I didn’t really feel I was misleading him.
In Ireland in 2015, despite what I told my son, we don’t have marriage equality and the most that same sex couples can hope for is civil partnership. It’s not the same on so many levels. It falls short. It’s inequal.
My four-year-old doesn’t personally know any same sex couples so it took him a while to get it.
“You’re saying a boy can marry a boy?” he giggled.
“Yes” I said.
“People can be in love with whoever they like boys or girls, just like I love your Daddy”.
“WEALLY?” he asked. I confirmed that this was the case.
“I still want to marry a girl Mama” he said slightly worried that I’d marry him off to the first stranger, and he named a girl from his playschool class who is the current frontrunner for the role.
“That’s grand love”, I told him. “It’s up to you, you get to choose who you love and who you marry”.
He looked relieved.
I really hope that Irish voters don’t make a liar of me on May 22nd and that this vote for marriage equality is passed.
I hope that my children’s generation will marry people that they love, regardless of their gender. I hope that it’s normal then, that gay people don’t hide their sexuality, their love or their partners. That they will all feel equal in our society. I hope that my children will know that marriage is based on love, and that that’s what it needs.
Because yes or no, love will win through, but a Yes vote to marriage equality in Ireland will show our children that we are all about love, and all about equality. That we support love and we support each other.
I’ll be voting yes, for the children. For my children. For everyone’s children
What better message to give them?
Are you with me?