But first, a disclaimer.
I find Colin Farrell hot; extremely hot. I always have. He’s been easy on the eyes and, because I love a man with an accent, the ears, ever since I first saw him. I even found him hot during those years when he was kind of an unkempt man-whore — I saw that video — and I would have hit it then; sure, maybe after he’d taken a bath and been detoxed and undergone an STD screening; I’d wait. He’s that hot.
You can have your Brad Pitts or Idris Elbas or Hugh Jackmans — yes, even Huge Ackman — just leave me Colin.
And it didn’t hurt that he’s an outspoken ally of the LGBT community; he’s stood up for anti-bullying campaigns and is an out-loud proponent of marriage equality. In fact, he served as his brother Eamon’s best man when Eamon married his partner Steven in Canada in 2009.
And now, Colin is writing for marriage equality in Ireland, so Eamon and Steven can be husband-and-husband in their own country.
And that’s hot … too.
I’ve been fortunate enough to never have any issue with the idea of gay union.
I think I found out my brother wasn’t groveling in heterosexual mud like most boys our age when I was around 12. I remember feeling surprised. Intrigued. Curious. Not bi curious before you start getting ideas.
I was curious because it was different from anything I’d known or heard of and yet it didn’t seem unnatural to me. I had no reference for the existence of homosexuality. I had seen, by that age, no gay couples together. I just knew my brother liked men and, I repeat, it didn’t seem unnatural to me.
My brother Eamon didn’t choose to be gay. Yes, he chose to wear eyeliner to school and that probably wasn’t the most pragmatic response to the daily torture he experienced at the hands of school bullies.
But he was always proud of who he was. Proud and defiant and, of course, provocative.
Even when others were casting him out with fists and ridicule and the laughter of pure loathsome derision, he maintained an integrity and dignity that flew in the face of the cruelty that befell him.
And this is why the forthcoming referendum is so personal to me. It’s about inclusion. It’s about fairness.
It’s about giving our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers back a right that should never have been stolen from them in the first place.
Speaking out in support of equality in all its forms is a moral necessity if we’re to have a society where peace, compassion and kindness become the ruling classes.
Only love in action can stamp out the wilting toxicity of the intolerant among us. Only ink on paper can truly prove that the Irish people are who we’ve held ourselves proudly to be – a people who, in the majority, are deeply feeling and have a natural and abiding lean towards inclusion and fairness, heart and hospitality.
This referendum is a chance for us to arise. To wake up to the conviction that true love from the heart of one being to another cares not for the colour, nor the creed, nor the gender of who it chooses to share that path with.
We have a chance to effect a change that’s about recognising no one love is greater than another by virtue of tradition. We have a chance to simply tip our hats to love in all its kaleidoscopic and majestic forms.
I’m not sure if I can vote online. As I write this in my bed at 2am I realise I’ll have to check that out. If I can’t, then these words stand as my testament to what my heart believes.
Eamon did not choose to be gay, no more than I chose to be straight. It’s all a trick, a sleight of nature.
I don’t know where those bullies are now, the ones who beat him regularly. Maybe some of them have found peace and would rather forget their own part of a painful past.
Maybe they’re sitting on bar stools and talking about “birds and faggots” and why one’s the cure and the other the disease.
But I do know where my brother is. He’s at home in Dublin living in peace and love with his husband of some years, Steven. They are about the healthiest and happiest couple I know. They had to travel a little farther than down the aisle to make their vows, though, to Canada, where their marriage was celebrated.
That’s why this is personal to me. The fact that my brother had to leave Ireland to have his dream of being married become real is insane. INSANE.
I can jump into my car now, drive four hours to Vegas from Los Angeles, get drunk and meet a woman and have Elvis marry us for $200.
And yet in many states in America, if I were gay, I couldn’t marry.
In Ireland, a gay couple who wish to share their lives together, who wish to make that ultimate declaration which strikes the fear of God into some of us, are legally not permitted to do so.
It’s time to right the scales of justice here. To sign up and register to vote next year so that each individual’s voice can be heard. So that future generations will know that there was a day when the people of Ireland staked claim once more to their independence and that we chose to live independent of inequality.
This for me is all about the heart, not the gender. If it’s about the idea of love between consenting adults, then this referendum is as much a heterosexual issue as it is a gay issue.
It is for all of us that civil marriage equality must be realised. There are too many things that divide us as a people, let not this be another one.
Let this be about not only the matrimonial unity of a man and a man or a woman and a woman, but let it be also about the unity of a community, the unity of an island which has at its heart a gold that this vote speaks to.
How often do we get to make history in our lives? Not just personal history. Familial. Social. Communal. Global. The world will be watching. We will lead by example.
Let’s lead toward light.
Like I said up there: hot, smart, compassionate, LGBT-ally. And hot.