Writing for the Iona Institute’s blog on Friday Ben Conroy gave a summation of his own take on the arguments of the Yes campaign (Does the Yes side believe in the ‘Irish mammy’ or not?, 10 April 2015). Taking Joan Burton’s story of the Irish mother who wants the best for her children whether they are gay or straight, he suggests that those seeking marriage equality are content to have the idea of motherhood removed altogether:
What’s wrong is that in this campaign it’s the Yes side who are arguing, emphatically and repeatedly, that children do not benefit especially from a mother’s love: any sufficiently loving adult can be swapped in and nothing lost.
It is perhaps possible that Mr. Conroy is wholly unaware that today there are some 5,000 children in Ireland who are in the care of the state, and that many of these children and young people are already without a mother’s love. He may also be unaware that by legislating for same-sex couples to marry and legally adopt Irish children in Ireland that the number of motherless children will not magically increase. The Marriage Equality referendum is not seeking the employment of a national child catcher to steal children from mothers, but rather to find loving homes for children already deprived of the love and care of their natural parents.
The best way to respond to sarcasm is with cheery and quite relentless sincerity.—
Ben Conroy (@BenJDConroy) March 06, 2015
David Quinn (@DavQuinn) April 02, 2015
Let’s be honest, Ben Conroy is not a silly man, and we can safely assume that he is perfectly cognisant of these facts. With this in mind I will place the further charge against him that, in appealing to a certain constituency of people who have not fully thought this through and who are conditioned to accept the party line, he is deliberately misusing the facts in order to manipulate people. When such a distortion of the truth comes from a Catholic organisation we are duty bound to remind the author that “the deliberate intention of leading a neighbour into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2485).” There is not a single voice on the side of Marriage Equality in Ireland asking for the removal of children from loving mothers and fathers, but Mr. Conroy knows his audience well. Many of the voters he is addressing do not have access to all of the information, and he is playing on their fears by telling what amounts to a pack of lies.