Wednesday 24 January 2018

Letter to the editor: Would 'no' advocates also ban education on drugs?

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you because I couldn't help but notice the referendum related letters published in last week's edition of your newspaper. We were asked to think of the children, of the future generations by the 'no' side, and I would agree with this sentiment.

As a sixteen year old student in this town, I cannot vote. Few in my year can, but that has done little to stop the hot topic in school these days. Same Sex Marriage and how you would vote if you could.

I've been asked this question plenty of times in the corridors, and I haven't found someone who would vote 'no' yet. When asked to think about the children, perhaps it's time to wake up and smell the 'yes' vote.

As I read, I couldn't help but notice that the main complaint was that same sex relationships could be discussed in SPHE classes around the country.... is that a bad thing?

To put it in terms we can all understand, let's put this in context. The government wants church-run schools to teach about a subject the churches are opposed to, that a small fraction of the population take part in and won't concern most people. Something like... drugs?

I've sat through many a class on the dangers of drugs, and thankfully I'm much the wiser. I have no intention of taking drugs, same as most people, but I value the lessons I have received on the topic. If those opposed to this education are afraid of young people 'deciding to be gay', you'll be surprised to hear that I do not take drugs, smoke or drink, despite being educated on these subjects. Are those concerned about same sex relationships also hoping to remove drug education from classes, using the same logic?

Aside from this, the poster campaigns from either side has been quite lacklustre. The No side tells a tale of the traditional family unit, in a show offensive to single parents, foster parents and those in protective social care. Today we hear about an abandoned baby on the side of a Kildare road, the traditional family unit was certainly not the best place for this newborn.

Meanwhile, the Yes side could be doing much more, a simple 'Yes to equality' poster does little to inspire a 'yes' vote.

Ireland's youth are the under-represented voice in this referendum, dominated by grey haired men in their sixties. I completely agree with what one person said, in that before this referendum takes place we need a long and thorough debate on all aspects of it. If Ireland votes 'no' on May 22, votes 'no' to the small gap between civil partnership and marriage, I will fully understand. However, if Ireland votes 'yes', I will be able to hold my head high.

As a parting message, I feel we need to examine our consciences before voting. Ask yourself what this has to do with adoption. To those considering abstaining, please don't. Whether you're leaning for or against, it is of utmost importance your voice is heard. Between now and the referendum we'll witness a flurry of opinions, justified or otherwise.

Just let us not forget the voice of our opinionated youth.


Evin Ryan,


Wexford People

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