Friday, December 22, 2017

That is what referendums do

I liked this article in The Guardian about why a referendum on same sex marriage or on abortion would be a bad idea in Norhtern Ireland. Plebiscites that divide societies are lethal for democracy:
"As in Ireland, the campaigns against same-sex marriage indulged homophobia and exploited homophobic tropes about LGBT people seeking to “recruit” young people. Some insinuated that homosexuality was a gateway to paedophilia. Others did much more than insinuate. In Melbourne, Stop The Fags posters appeared and then went viral with images of children cowering under a rainbow-coloured hand. This is what referendums do. They divide cultures, generations and families. They force LGBT people to come out to gain basic civil rights, not at a time of their choosing. For some it was liberating – for others, the consequences continue. I fear a referendum on abortion would undoubtedly descend quickly into a vicious debate. Having engaged in these debates on university campuses – places that pride themselves on being liberal-minded – I have witnessed first-hand how quickly they can sour, with accusations of “baby killers”, of women using abortion as contraception and other inflaming distortions."

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