We need equality for the marginalised

Dear Editor, The Catholic Church in Ireland, we are told, suffered a slap on the face with the result of the marriage referendum. It needs a reality check, said the Archbishop of Dublin. Just a minute! Who voted in this referendum? Overwhelmingly those who voted for equal rights for a minority were Irish people, 85% of whom described themselves as Roman Catholic in the last census. The people, who are the Church, have spoken. They have seen an injustice and tried to redress it.

Not surprising, since the generous Irish, who for hundreds of years have endured what gay people have endured and no doubt will continue to endure. Ireland, as a nation, has known ridicule, bullying, discrimination and ostracism and so it has an empathy with those who still suffer from inequality.

Surely that clamour for equality for the marginalised is at the very heart of what the Catholic Church teaches, that we are all made in the image of God, who does not make a mistake, and should be treated as such.

One can only hope now that that same generous outpouring of goodwill, can extend to those Irish people, who still experience exclusion and invisibility; those whose cries for equality is silent on our airwaves; those whose image does not make for sexy viewing on our screens; those who cannot close the streets to draw attention to their plight. Into this group, which forms a large section of the Irish population, fit the elderly, the immigrant, the sick, the disabled, the homeless and the baby in the womb.

Who among the political parties, the pop stars, the sports stars and the business people, who shouted so loudly and marched so proudly in favour of a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum, will take up the gauntlet for the other underdogs in Irish society?

Yours etc.,

Patricia Shearer,

Belfast, Co. Antrim.