Imagine if I said: “I’m not anti-Healy-Rae but I believe it is wrong for a baby to not have any choice in being raised by a Healy-Rae couple”.
Imagine if I said that I believe Healy-Rae couples should not be allowed raise children, as they cannot provide ‘a natural balance’.
To say such a thing would be nasty, pointless and irredeemably stupid.
It would be deeply hurtful to Healy-Rae people everywhere and it might well stigmatise children of Healy-Rae couples. It might add to the burden of young people struggling with their own identity who might wonder if they are themselves Healy-Rae.
It would be a horribly cruel thing to say about anyone, wouldn’t it? And a person who would say such a thing just to burnish their own reputation amongst their supporters or, worse, just to provide a cheap laugh for those who delight in being ‘politically incorrect’ – or as normal people might say ‘being a complete and utter (word I am not allowed use in The Avondhu)’ – well, that person would be pretty much out of sync, wouldn’t they?
Step forth, then, Danny Healy-Rae, amateur climatologist, avowed non-homophobe and naturally-gifted expert at getting into the papers during the silly season.
The eldest Healy-Rae scion gave an interview to Hot Press last week, wherein he held forth on his Charlton Heston-like willingness to shoot intruders, on why climate change isn’t man-made (another Charlton Heston nod, something to do with Noah’s Ark – methane build-up, maybe, Danny and Michael, two-by-two) and on his distrust of gay parents. (Charlton Heston once called political correctness ‘tyranny with manners’. He’d have loved the Healy-Raes.)
More than a year since Ireland became the first country on the planet to legalise marriage equality by a popular vote, more than a year since 62% of a 60% turnout voted to tell our gay brothers and sisters that we believe them to be equal citizens in every way, more than a year since Dublin Castle rang out to the tear-filled strains of ‘All You Need Is Love’, Danny Healy-Rae is still dog-whistling to his backwoods followers.
More than a year since 1.2 million of us enshrined in our Constitution the words ‘Féadfaidh beirt, gan beann ar a ngnéas, conradh pósta a dhéanamh de réir dlí’ (‘marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’), the opportunists of cruelty are still doing everything in their power to make Irish citizens feel like they are lesser people just because of the love in their hearts.
“What was I very worried about – and still am – is that two men, or two women, could adopt a little baby girl or a little baby boy and these babies would have no say in it,” says Danny Healy-Rae, just in time to get in the papers.
“And that wouldn’t be a natural family for me. I felt that was wrong. Going back, it was always a man and a woman who produced a baby and brought them up, and that’s the way I felt it should continue.
“No, I’m not anti-gay. What these people do is their business and I’m fine with that. If they want to have that type of relationship, again, I’ll say: that’s their business. They do what they want to do and I wish them well with that. And let them have the friends that they have.”
Here’s the thing about Danny Healy-Rae’s comments: The marriage equality amendment is passed. It’s done. There’s no going back. And – as I discovered when I did a bit of actual proper journalism – at the time of the referendum’s first anniversary, almost 400 couples had married as a direct result of our vote.
Prior to the referendum, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, the Government’s Special Rapporteur for Children, told RTÉ’s Claire Byrne categorically that talk of adoption was completely irrelevant. Dr Shannon explained that our adoption process is now entirely child-centric, stating “No-one has a right to a child (but) a child has every right to a family”.
Talk of adoptions is just as irrelevant now as it was at the time of the vote, so clearly this is just a shout-out to Danny Healy-Rae’s most unreconstructed followers. This is an appeal to the worst type of homophobe who thinks gay people simply cannot be trusted around children.
Imagine being gay and hearing this. Imagine being the child of gay parents or the parent of a gay child and hearing this. Imagine being a child who thinks they might be gay and hearing this.
This is Trumpism, Kerry style. This is appealing to the hatred and idiocy of the worst instincts of your supporters and not giving a damn that what you are saying is completely untrue and – worse – actually hurtful and damaging to real and often vulnerable people.
The same as denying climate change and – when told 98% of climatologists agree that climate change is real – asking who pays the climatologists. This is telling stupid people the one thing they believe most – that they are smarter than everyone else, especially smart people.
If Donald Trump was a Kerry Fianna Fail gene-pool cute hoor who had to earn each vote one at a time, he’d be talking rubbish about Noah’s Ark too and sending out ‘funeral packs’ to the families of dead people he didn’t know.
So (word I am not allowed use on The Avondhu) you, Danny Healy-Rae. Your presence in Irish politics is a damning indictment of the people of Kerry who voted for you.
I hope Fianna Fail catches up with you and your brother. When ye had a chance to make a difference for Kerry and serve in government, the two of ye ran a country mile, preferring instead cheap and easy populism and asking absolutely pointless questions in the Dáil at two hundred quid a pop.
For your needless appeal to homophobia, I hope you and Michael are washed out of office by a tidal wave that Charlton Heston himself would find hard to blame on anything except either global warming or the people of Kerry finally copping on to your complete and utter sleeveenery.
You absolute (word I am not allowed use on The Avondhu)!