That's great news. Ireland has a pretty shoddy record when it comes legislating on rights issues. We have historically been slow to move with the times. This is in part due to the strong influence of the Catholic church. Contraceptives could not be sold in Ireland until 1985, homosexuality wasn't decriminalised until 1993 and divorce was not made legal until 1996 after a referendum in 1995. Abortion is still illegal in Ireland except in medical emergencies, the severe restrictions, even in these cases, were only relaxed in 2013. Protests in Irleand and elsewhere following the death of Savita Halappanavar brought sufficient pollitical pressure to bear that even the ritecent Irish Government was forced to act. To be clear, abortion is still illegal in Ireland with the exception of medical emergencies.
One thing that strikes me as ironic is that the actions of the Catholic Church itself may be related to the current support for gay marriage. There have been so many scandals involving the beating and raping of children that any moral authority the church may have once had is long gone. The rapid and extremely thorough disillusioning of the Irish people with the Catholic church has led to a much more secularly minded populace. There is an air of skepticism and distrust in religious authority which severely undermines the influence of the church and it's ability to impede this kind of progress. It is a testament to this effect that Ireland might well go from a position of criminalising gay people to allowing them to marry in just over 20 years.
Another factor in changing minds with regard to issues like homosexuality is the internet. Now ubiquitous in Ireland it makes access to media where homosexuals are shown to be the ordinary folk that they are almost unaviodable. They are not some secretive group of deviants anymore, they aren't hiding in the shadows waiting to indoctrinate your kids. They are men and women who find people of the same sex attractive romantically/sexually and that's about it. Telling people in most places in Ireland these days that you are gay is likely to be met with more shoulder shrugs than wagging fingers or raised eyebrows. There are pockets of backward thinking rubary to be sure but these little islands of bigoted ignorence are getting ever smaller.
None of this, however, has stopped the forces of darkness from rallying for one last stand. The thouroghly mocked posters "Sounds of Sodomy" are being spit roasted with glee all over the net. The posters are only succeeding in making whatever group is responsible for them look ridiculous.
The posters have led to some amusing musings online such as "What does Sodomy actually sound like?" and "Does it sound different when two men do it as opposed to a man and a woman?" One is also forced to wonder if children are adversely affected by the sounds of vaginal intercourse or if that harmless to them.
I think it does give rise to a new philosophical thought experiment that I have no doubt will be popular in every seminary:
"If two men have anal sex in the woods and there are no children around to hear it, does it make an objectionable sound?"
Humor aside though, these posters betray the thinking of those responsible for them. They can't even start to see homosexual relationships as being loving partnerships; they are far too fixated on the icky butt sex. It doesn't strike me as remotely surprising that the homosexual relationships that they focus on are between two men. All those morally outraged holy crusaders are likely much more forgiving of a couple of attractive lesbians generating sounds of their own. I would be curious to know if these worried Christians are under the impression that gay men in Ireland have been refraining from Sodomy on account of gay marriage being unrecognised by the state. Something tells me that the amount of Sodomy on the emerald isle is not going to change very much no matter what happens in the referendum. I am certain that the amount of Sodomy involing priests and the unfortunate children left in their care has fallen considerably. This would be in direct correlation with the rising mistrust of anyone in holy orders being associated with childcare. Given the outrageous extent of the child sexual abuse conducted by the Catholic Chruch in Ireland over the last century, these posters represent an outrageous hypocracy. Considered in that light, it makes me want to break something.