McAleese referendum claims are rejected

‘No’ campaigners challenge former President’s statement on marriage referendum

‘No’ campaigners in the marriage referendum have rejected claims by Mary McAleese that the referendum is not about the right to have children.

Speaking at an event organised by ‘yes’ campaigners, the former president claimed “the only children affected by this referendum will be Ireland’s gay children. It is their future which is at stake. It is in our hands. They are too few in number to win this referendum on their own.”

Challenging this, The Iona Institute said that while Mrs McAleese’s comments are understandable in light of how her son Justin is gay, they also showed the importance of mothers for children.

The statement quotes a recent article from Iona Institute patron Breda O’Brien, who described the former president as “a terrific role model as a woman who has always worked outside the home while maintaining a strong family life” but warned that if the referendum is passed, “there will be children born in this country who will never experience a mother’s love.”


While circumstances can force children to grow up without a mother, the statement acknowledges, if most voters on Friday vote ‘yes’, this “will happen with the full backing of the Constitution and by deliberate design”.

The proposed constitutional amendment aims to change the constitutional vision of the family which recognises the unique character of male/female unions, the statement points out, noting how the Referendum Commissioner has admitted that if the referendum is passed, laws on adoption, surrogacy, and artificial reproduction could only distinguish between male-female couples and same-sex couples in “exceptional” circumstances.

Claiming that this arrangement would rest on the pretence that “mothers are the same as fathers in the lives of children”, the statement describes as “wrong and unjust” a situation wherein a child could be brought into the world via a surrogate mother and an egg donor in order to facilitate two men in such a way that the child “by deliberate design” would never know a mother’s love.