People in the Republic of Ireland are voting today on whether to change the country’s constitution to redefine marriage.
Voters are being asked whether they agree with the statement: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.
A diverse range of people have spoken out against introducing gay marriage in Ireland, including homosexuals, church leaders and commentators.
Campaign of harassment
Campaign group Mothers and Fathers Matter have slammed scare-tactics used by the ‘Yes’ side. Last month, pictures appeared on social media of pro-traditional marriage posters being taken down in Dublin.
The group said: “There is very clearly a significant element of the YES side that either fears or opposes debate on this referendum. Instead, they are engaged in a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and criminality.”
“Our canvass returns show us that there are a significant number of people simply afraid to admit how they will vote in this referendum for fear of the reaction of YES campaigners”.
This week, a group of MEPs urged the President of the European Parliament to intervene in the referendum, saying the vote has been “seriously compromised”.
In a letter, MEPs from Germany, Poland and Slovakia highlighted the public support of gay marriage from the national police force and the media.
They said, “a climate of fear and intimidation has pervaded throughout the campaign, creating electoral conditions that are far from ‘free and fair'”.
Welfare of children
Dublin-based writer and commentator Paul Hopkins explained in the Belfast Telegraph that he is voting ‘No’ in the referendum because of concerns “for the welfare of our children and future children”.
“I don’t want my constitution to deny that it is a good thing for a child to have a mother and have a father”, he said.
Polling opened at 7am this morning and closes at 10pm – counting is due to start tomorrow morning.