Looking ahead to Ireland’s gay marriage vote, author Colm Tóibín states: “Nobody is invisible”
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Colm Tóibín: No. When I was working for the Sunday Independent, I think it was 1992, they asked me to do the questions for a telephone poll. The answers were very conservative, until the last question. The last question was ‘If your son or daughter were getting married in a same-sex relationship and there was a party, would you go to it?’ And the vast majority said ‘Yes.’ And I realized then, that’s called soft support. In other words, while they might disapprove, they weren’t angry about it, they wouldn’t ostracize. And once you have that sort of wavering mixture, you can actually watch time working with it. The more and more people were known to be gay, the more and more people who knew them and liked them, and loved them indeed, wanted them to be happy. So slowly, you could almost chart it person by person, family by family, moving in the direction of yes.
And I suppose the other reason is that there is no great opposition to this. It’s not as if the church has come all out with money and a big campaign. I mean, the church is opposed, but in a very quiet, decent way. So it’s been a very successful campaign in that we have been able to make our case to our own nation. And win or lose it, at least we are all out in the open now. The debate is clear. There is nobody invisible. There is nobody afraid. There is nobody feeling that the best place for me would be the closet. And we could win.