Yes vote 'would change definition and concept of family'
WEXFORD Fianna Fáil Senator Jim Walsh is sticking to his guns and is campaigning for a No vote in the upcoming same sex marriage referendum on May 22 as he believes the move would change 'the definition and conception of family'.
The conservative Wexford politician expressed his opposition to sections of the Children and Family Relationships Bill in the Oireachtas in late March, but remained tight lipped on the controversial subject matter up until last week, following a backlash to comments he made.
Senator Walsh opposes 36 sections of the bill and he tabled an amendment calling for IVF methods to be primarily made available to married heterosexual couples. He said there are 'many gaps' in the legislation, particularly in the area of allowing children born via sperm donation or similar methods to know the health history of their biological parents.
Senator Walsh is known for his conservative views on social issues having opposed civil partnership legislation in 2009 and the abortion legislation that moved through the Oireachtas nearly two years ago. He says he is acting on his 'deeply held and conscientious opinions'.
Senator Walsh said he believed encouraging gay people to believe 'sameness' could be achieved would only cause them 'more harm than good'.
Opposing the proposed change to the Constitution to allow same-sex couples to get married, he said he believed the move would change 'the definition and conception of family'.
As marriage currently protects the natural ties between mothers, fathers and their children, he said 'changing marriage removes that protection'.
'I'm conscious of the fact that gay people have suffered [the] stigma and challenges of living in a society that is largely hetero-normative. However my concern is that gay people in same sex couples are being encouraged to believe that complete sameness is achievable.'
He went no to say: 'There's a fundamental biological difference between same sex and opposite sex couples.'
At Fianna Fáil's 2012 Ard Fheis, the party's members voted to pass a resolution supporting equal marriage.' His words fly in the face of his party's long held belief that the most basic Republican proposition is the entitlement to equality on the part of every Irish citizen a the party's Justice spokesman Niall Collins said in a speech recently.