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Effort to erase motherhood and traditional family from Ireland’s constitution fails

by | Mar 19, 2024

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

referendum which would have erased motherhood and traditional family from the constitution of Ireland has been defeated by a large margin.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar had urged voters to support the referendum, which would have amended Article 41.1 by introducing “other durable relationships” alongside marriage as the foundation of the family. Article 41.2 also would have been changed. Currently, it states “that by her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved,” and that the government shall therefore “endeavor to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labor to the neglect of their duties in the home.” That would have been replaced by gender-neutral language, saying the government recognizes “the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them,” and that without that, “the common good cannot be achieved and shall strive to support such provision.”

Varadkhar told voters that voting against the referendums would be a “step backwards,” and derided the current amendments as containing “very old-fashioned, very sexist language about women.”

But nearly 68% of voters rejected the amendments, which Varadkhar described as giving “two wallops” to the government. “Clearly we got it wrong. While the old adage is that success has many fathers and failure is an orphan, I think when you lose by this kind of margin, there are a lot of people who got this wrong and I am certainly one of them,” he said, adding, “It was our responsibility to convince the majority of people to vote ‘yes’ and we clearly failed to do so.”

Carol Nolan, an Independent TD for Laois Offaly, believes the push showed that the government is out of touch with the Irish people. “People are sick to death of being talked down to by unelected NGO’s such as the National Women’s Council of Ireland, who should now clearly be seen as an ideological poison within the body politic,” she said. Senator Michael McDowell agreed, saying, “The government misjudged the mood of the electorate and put before them proposals which they didn’t explain and proposals which could have serious consequences.”

Family Solidarity, an Irish conservative advocacy group, released a statement  praising the results on Saturday. “This decision by the Irish electorate sends a powerful message about the importance of preserving foundational values in the face of sweeping societal changes,” the statement said. “This victory is not just a rejection of a specific referendum proposal; it is a declaration by the people of Ireland that the core unit of society — the family based on marriage — must remain protected and cherished. It underscores a collective desire to maintain the integrity of societal values that have long been the bedrock of our nation.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.

Categories: Ireland