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Mother of gay son berates Irish minister over civil partnerships

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  1. Simon Murphy 8 Jul 2009, 11:30am

    Powerful letter.

    The Minister for (in)Justice in Ireland is called Dermot Ahern. His email address is

    The Prime Minister/Taoiseach of Ireland is called Brian Cowen . His email address is called

  2. Simon Murphy 8 Jul 2009, 11:38am

    Oh yeah and for any Irish readers of this site (or those readers who have an Irish address they can use) then Marriage Equality has a website which lists the contact details of ALL elected public representatives in all constituencies plus a sample letter to send to these people asking if they support civil partnership apartheid or full equality. That can be checked on

    I now live in the UK but my mum’s address in Ireland was used to email all the reps in her area.

  3. David North 8 Jul 2009, 11:39am

    Well said that woman…..

  4. What a lady! Why couldn’t we ALL have had mothers like her?!

  5. michael liverpool 8 Jul 2009, 12:06pm

    Very courageous woman. I hope the Irish govt listens and this doesn’t fall on deaf ears. What she is saying is absolutely right, a civil partnership is not equal to marriage. It is an outdated, insulting and prejudiced idea that has no place in the 21st century, in Ireland or anywhere else. If they can grant equal marriage to gays and straights in Holland, Belgium, Sweden and Spain, then the rest of Europe can too. What is the rest of Europe waiting for???

  6. Now there’s a real Iron Lady. I love this. Congratulations to Mrs Doody.

  7. What a beautiful letter. If there were more mother’s like her than this world would be a much better place!

  8. Commander Thor 8 Jul 2009, 12:30pm

    Heh, I actually cried when I read this! I’m glad her son came out at 16, I spent another 5 years of misery before coming out to my parents. I wouldn’t wish this kind of distress on my worst enemies – not even on Those Who Must Not Be Named and who spread hate.

  9. She should replace the current monarch in this country; that Lady is a true Queen.

  10. Simon Murphy 8 Jul 2009, 1:06pm

    Irish Parliament on holidays soon: Just saw this news about a protest at 1pm tomorrow at Parliament Buildings (Dail Eireann)

    “Tomorrow at 1pm, members of our community are coming together to tell the Government that even though they are going on holidays, we will be waiting for them when they get back. We realise this is short notice but all of this has come about because of the ripple Helen Doody’s letter has sent throughout the country – now is the time to be doing something. So if you are off tomorrow or work in town, take your lunchbreak and please come down and show your support.

    Thursday 1pm Dáil Entrance Kildare Street”

  11. Perhaps our own Ben Summerskill should read the letter too as Stonewall seemingly is not committed to gay marriage in the UK.

  12. Simon Murphy 8 Jul 2009, 1:23pm

    For UK readers who’d like to give the Irish Prime Minister a little reminder about how important tourism is to the Irish economoy and how legislating for civil partnerships in Ireland is sending a very bad signal to the world can I suggest you drop him an email along the lines of:

    Dear Mr Cowen,

    I am from ______ in England / Scotland / USA / Whereever. I am a regular visitor to Ireland and have always enjoyed the Irish hospitality and welcome.

    It was with great sadness therefore that I read that your governmment intends to legislate for civil partnerships for the gay and lesbian community thereby denying them access to the legal contract of civil marriage. In the 21st Century it is entirely inappropriate to be denying equal access to marriage to a law-abiding, tax paying minority group. This sends a very negative message to the world about Ireland’s commitment to equality for all its citizens.

    I urge you to scrap the proposed Civil Partnership legislation in favour of access to full civil marriage for gay people.

    I look forward to paying a return visit to Ireland once the gay community has achieved equality in terms of access to civil marriage.

    Yours sincerely”

    His email address in case anyone needs a reminder is

    If you send it then please copy the Minister for (in)Justice also – his email is

  13. I am proud to be a gay son to an Irish mother. Let Ireland be a shining example of gay marriage and equal rights for all throughout Europe and the World.

  14. Robert, ex-pat Brit 8 Jul 2009, 1:26pm

    Michael, exactly so and Harry….don’t bother with Stonewall, they’re not interested in full marriage equality because they believe civil partnerships are all the equality we need. He stated that many LGBT people in the UK don’t want to get married yet he ignores the rest of us who do. He should be ashamed to even call his organisation Stonewall UK, its not worthy of the name. I have no problem with civil partnerships for those who want them, but those of us who want to marry, should have that right. I don’t buy the argument that not having civil partnerships would give us no rights at all…the problem is, Stonewall and others like them would rather settle for something less while totally disregarding the fact that they are not about full equality. I’m sick of crumbs, many of us worldwide want the whole pie. I’ve said this before many times, if they’re so equal, why can’t straights choose them rather than marry?

  15. What a fantastic letter. Full of emotion and facts. I would love ot have a mother like her.

  16. Simon, that’s a great letter and I have adpated it and sent it. Just one point- your letter keeps saying civil marriage, but in order to provide full marriage quality we need the gay and lesbian community to access full marriage rights in the same way that striaght couples can, and this means recognition for both civil and religious marriage. There are increasing numbers of churches that do provide same-sex weddings; straight couples who have these are allowed to have them legally recognised and can have a registrar present, so gay couples need equal treatment.

  17. Simon Murphy 8 Jul 2009, 1:58pm

    I deliberately didn’t mention religious marriage – for 2 reasons:

    1. Ireland is predominantly catholic. Even if civil marriage becomes legal it will be virtually impossible to find a church who will performa gay wedding

    2. Personal disinterest in religion

  18. Quite a few have got there before me! Shame! I, too, love this letter, which is heartfelt, loving of her family and not up itself, as can so often be the case.
    Well done, love; you are a credit to your family and I wish I could know you personally.

  19. Michelle Rudge 8 Jul 2009, 3:09pm

    what a fantastic woman, an absolute example to all parents of gay off spring, superb

  20. SAm de Croy 8 Jul 2009, 3:14pm

    Well done Mrs Doody!! I can’t remember the last time I read a letter that made me swell with Pride and made me really, really glad that I was not the postie delivering your letter to Mr Ahern! I hope he takes notice and I hope he invites you to sit beside him when he signs the changes into law. I have no idea who said it first, but I like repeating it: “one candle in the dark lights very little; a million candles in the dark will illuminate the whole”. Mrs Doody just lit a bonfire! Bless you.

  21. Every gay person deserves to have a mother like Mrs Doody – what a LADY! That letter is one of the finest things I’ve read in a long time.

  22. Mrs Doody’s letter brought a tear to my eye too – what an amazing woman to convey what most of us feel in such an eloquent and heartfelt way. Simon Murphy’s letter is excellent too – I urge all my fellow readers/commentators to follow his lead and write to the Irish parliament & MoJ.

  23. A letter just sent to Messrs Cowan and Ahern

    I am an Irish citizen, and proud to be so, although at the moment I live in the UK.

    You are currently proposing legislation to enable Civil Partnerships, but I must tell you that your proposals are sadly inadequate – all you are doing in creating an Ireland where some are less ‘legally equal’ than others. If you persist in this I fear you will go down in Irish History with tarnished reputations and History, that most unforgiving judge, will treat you with derision and call you ‘Coward!’

    For God’s sake, and Ireland’s, stand up like men and DO THE RIGHT THING! Create an Ireland where ALL its citizens are FULLY EQUAL.

    I am a gay man, I did not choose to be gay – it’s the way I was born, it’s the way The Almighty made me. It’s THAT simple. Since the Almighty God, in His infinite wisdom, ordained that I be born gay, what mere man, be he prelate or politician, can rightly claim I am less equal than any other of God’s children?

    If various human religious organisations choose to deem themselves a higher authority than Almighty God, and sadly the majority of them do in one way or another, usually for reasons more to do with an ambition for power and influence rather than for furthering Christ’s mission on earth; that is NO excuse for politicians to follow their example or advice.

    Make Ireland proud! Make Ireland shine as a beacon of true equality in a world where too much inequality exists! Under other leaders Ireland has stood head and shoulders above the family of nations because she stood up for what is right, just and true – see that she does so again.

    Thank you

    [signed with full name]

  24. Dominick J. 8 Jul 2009, 4:08pm

    Well said is right and every Mother should know and realize this and so should the fathers. My parents and siblings where like this. But how sad of the many folks who would embarass their Gay kids by making them go to Right Wing Extremists for “the” cure. Or to Pray groups to have their orientation “prayed” away. The later are stupid ignorant fools that can’t figure out that the Gay children came from their bodies, yes from the sperm from the men to the eggs of the women, and were made this way.

  25. Liam Ledwidge 8 Jul 2009, 4:15pm

    This is an admirable and courageous letter from a Mother in a million and it really deserves recognition throughout the world. However in order for us to have full equality and be able to marry in the Irish Republic, it requires a change in our constitution which means a referendum and a nightmare for any government in power.

    Having said this and having dealt with several governments in Ireland over three decades, I believe it is time for the dream of the gay community to come through. It is time for us to cry freedom to rid society of it’s homophobic attitude and give us the full freedom we deserve. An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) the world is watching. Good luck everyone.
    Liam Ledwidge, Dublin Ireland

  26. Peter Jackson 8 Jul 2009, 4:20pm

    A great woman, does anyone know if HER letter is on facebook and if so where? Would love to share it with friends.

  27. Simon Murphy 8 Jul 2009, 4:23pm

    No 24: Liam Ledwidge: You say: “it requires a change in our constitution which means a referendum and a nightmare for any government in power.”

    That is not an opinion shared by all lawyers. That is what the Fianna Fail government claims their own legal advisers have told them.

    In 1990 when Mary Robinson was elected the 1st female president of Ireland there was a brief debate about whether she was allowed to run owing to the fact that the Irish Constitution referred to the President as ‘he’ throughout. The Fianna Fail government of the time immediately dismissed the need for a referendum saying that the constitution is a living document that is not meant to be taken literally so Mrs Robinson was certainly allowed to run without the need for a referendum.

    There are many lawyers who believe the same is true on the subject of gay marriage. Just because Fianna Fail tries to tell us a referendum is required does not mean it is true.

    And even if it were true (which I don’t for a moment believe) then why are they not having the referendum. Recent polls suggest a majority of Irish people support equality for gay people. Ireland has a young population compared to most of Europe and the damage that’s been wreaked on the catholic cult in Ireland indicates to me that even if an unnecessary referendum was held then we’d still get equality.

  28. Great letter.
    Complete nonsense Liam. The Irish constitution does not define marriage between a man and a woman. You have bought the Government excuse without any independent thought. The hight court has indicated during the KAL case that this is the responsibility of the elected representatives and the Dáil. It is time for the Government to push on with legislation for same-sex marriage and then let the supreme court decide. Lets not pre-empt their analysis!

  29. What a beautiful letter. I’m here in the British Library trying to stifle the sobs… :)
    I truly hope that on this issue Ireland can lead (rather than follow) in Europe.

  30. WOW, that is all anyone in the world wants, deserves and should have backed by law. We all deserve equal rights. Mrs Doody you are an absolute gem, this really brought tears to my eyes. As someone who only came out to his parents in my late thirties, (I am now nearly 43) I can see how brave people need to be to come out in a society that talks about equality but doesn’t actually back it. Staying in the closet is damaging to self esteem, health, mental wellbeing etc. Coming out takes a lot of courage, and it is our close family and friends that give us the support and backing to become who we really are. Society also has a hand to play, we need positive gay role models from all walks of life to stand up and be counted. We are doctors, cleaners, firemen, toilet attendants,teachers, footballers, bin men,bus drivers, etc. etc. why shouldn’t we have the right to MARRY? some say marriage is for procreation, does the Irish government require a fertility test performing before heterosexual couples get married? No I don’t think so.

  31. Carl Rowlands 8 Jul 2009, 5:24pm

    What a gutsy lady – she should be nominated for an award.

  32. Pete & Michael 8 Jul 2009, 5:36pm

    We agree entirely and from our postings on this website we have both stated that Civil Partnerships are a great step forward by the Labour Government, but they are NOT equal to Marriage. We want Same-Sex Civil Marriage with the same common law rights as a married mixed couple as is in Spain and parts of Canada and United States. Civil Partnerships are not recognised outside the UK except perhaps in Spain. We do not want a religious marriage as the church would never give a blessing anyway.

  33. Wow! What a wonderful display of love. That is one great mom!!

  34. Robert, ex-pat Brit 8 Jul 2009, 6:07pm

    Why is it that there isn’t a vocal LGBT group in the UK like the Irish contingent? Why aren’t they forming their own group surpassing Stonewall UK and hopefully replace them?

  35. Well Helen Doody, your might be very proud of your sons , gay and straight, but I as a gay man, that you do not know, am very proud of you.

  36. Judith Navetta 8 Jul 2009, 8:54pm

    I applaud and stand with Mrs. Doody! My daughter is a lesbian and I’m one very proud mother. She is a young, intelligent, funny caring woman. Like all the LGBTs they deserve equality and we need to stand and fight the battle with them. Oh, and yes, I’m Catholic and believe God loves my daughter just the way He created her, a Lesbian.

  37. reading that made me teary

  38. Har Davids 8 Jul 2009, 9:22pm

    Gay or straight, anyone would be proud to have a mum like Helen Doody.

  39. Amazing letter and amazing woman, thankyou

  40. Thank you, Mrs Doody. 5 stars for you, and best regards to your family.

    Robert, ex-pat Brit:

    Why indeed? from what I understand, Stonewall stiffles our liberation. Why is that?

  41. Rod Gonzales, San Antonio, Texas, USA 9 Jul 2009, 5:06am

    Well done, Mrs. Doody! Your sons are lucky to have you for a mother.

  42. I guess our sneaky readers – Hank, David, Reality Check, et al – have been struck dumb by Mrs Doody’s letter. C’mon boys, what have you got to say, give us some of your down-home wisdom, c’mon, c’mon. What’s-the-matta-wit-ya! Cat got your tongue. Meo-o-o-w!

  43. Declan cried! – I burst into tears too when I read that letter. I wish I had a mother like that. Strength to your elbow, Mrs Doody (you are a Super Mum, and to all Irish LGBT groups fighting for gay equality in Ireland

  44. Why can’t we have genuinely caring and honest people like this lady as MP’s rather than the shower we always do get!

    Not only should Helen be proud of her children but she should be euqally proud of herself for being a shining example to others – and I am pretty sure that he children will always be proud of her too (I know I would be if she was my mother)

  45. such a beautiful and elegant letter. Well done for standing up for your sons, and their right to live a equal and decent life!

  46. Well spotted, Bentham… Hank, David, Reality Check, et al, only comment on “negative” news stories. They’re not too keen on accepting that there are people on this planet who are straight who will support us…. especially one where this is a touching story of a mothers stance in protection of her child.

    Hank, David, and Reality Check, would only be shown up to be the pathetic parodies of human beings in comparison to an individual like this admirable woman.

    Its just a shame this story never made any front pages or RTE news… goes to show that the true heroics in our day to day lives usually go unnoticed by the masses.

  47. Helen for Taoiseach…

  48. This in a far more religious country than our own shines a light of sanity, whilst we here in supposedly secular Britain gave in to Civil Partnerships, and sexual apartheid, with hardly a fight.

    This lady and her son deserve our unreserved respect for sticking up for the concept that every person is born equal in the eyes of the law. Now, can she send a letter to our Prime Minister please?

  49. I wish I had a mother like you – you are a Super Mum. Mrs Doody

  50. awesome !*!*!

    1. It’s a lovely letter.

      Sadly, since that time, Ireland has passed civil partnership apartheid legislation.

      Equality is still the unrealised goal.

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