06 Jul 2009
A poster on gay forum site Queerid wrote a letter about the Civil Partnership Bill to the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern. He posted it on his Facebook, where his mother read it and was inspired to write her own letter to the minister. I'm usually a cynical old crone, but it's a wonderful, touching, lovely letter that only a mother could write.
Dear Mr Ahern,
My name is Helen
Doody, you have already received and failed to reply to a letter that my own
son Declan sent to you a week or so ago. So like any good and decent parent I
am now trying to get you to listen to and protect my child – it is the very
least that any mother would do for her own children.
I read Declan’s
email and everything he said to you in the e-mail was true. He had a very tough
time growing up in Abbeyfeale, I can still picture him crying in the mornings
before he went to school because he was afraid of the people who were going to
be waiting for him – bullies who would beat the living daylight out of him,
people who crushed the very spirit within him. I tried numerous times to help
him, I spoke to teachers, to the parents but the problem got a quick-fix but a
weeks later it just continued on.
Declan was always a
very shy and quiet boy but as the bullying continued he became more and more
invisible. His Dad and I spent nights talking about him, wondering would he go
to school in the morning, would he come home that evening with a ripped jumper
or would his school copies be destroyed, we tried so hard to get him the help
he needed but as the bullying continued, he started to shut his family out.
All of this began
to change however the day Declan came out to me. I am not going to pretend that
I handled it like a saint, it is a shock to the system, you don’t think about
your child being gay, you just assume they are straight and when Declan told me
I didn’t know what to do. I thought I had done something wrong, I thought it
was my fault, I really thought that this was it for my son, when people started
to find out that he was gay his entire world would turn into a living hell but
Over the coming
weeks he began to change, I finally started to see him smile again and there
was something different about his heart too. I saw my son reach a very dark and
lonely place at the age of 16 but even at his lowest my son, had the courage
and strength to come out and say he was gay.
He went to college
with a new look on life, he finally seemed to be enjoying himself and it was
only then I realised that there was nothing wrong with Declan. If my son was
happy, if he was no longer worried about what other people thought about him
then I knew that there was nothing wrong with being gay.
For many years he
had kept a secret from me and his family because he thought we would reject
him, like so many people had done to him before and now at the age of 23 he has
graduated with a degree, a higher diploma and a masters. He has become the fine
young man that his father and I are so very proud to be able to call our son.
When I heard on the
news that gay people would now finally be able to register the relationships
like any married couple I finally thought things had changed and I suppose many
other people around the country like me thought the same. However I have now
realised that what you plan on doing is nothing short of telling the gay
community that they are still not equal. You will not tell my sons that they
are not equal to their brothers, friends and the rest of society. Your Civil
Partnership Bill is not good enough for my family, and hundreds, thousands of
other families in this country. I might not be the smartest person in this
country but even I can tell you that this bill is all but worthless and will
only further the opinion that gay people are not the same as everyone else.
I have been there
for all my sons when they have had their hearts broken by girlfriends and
boyfriends. I helped them pick out gifts on Valentines day and shopped around
for a Tux for the Debs. I have met boyfriends and girlfriends, I have liked
some and been frosty to others. I have thought about each and every single of
them getting married to someone that they love and who will love them back as
much as I do.
I have six sons Mr
Ahern, six very beautiful boys who became six very beautiful and upstanding
Two of my boys are
gay. Four are straight. Two are firemen. Two love playing video games. One
loves to cook. Three of them love cars. Five of them have had their tonsils
All of them are my
You have the power
to change this country so do the right thing and change this country for the
better, wake up and realise that there is still time to clean up this mess and
give gay couples the same rights as straight couples.
I am asking on
behalf of my gay children, their gay friends, my gay friends, my family, I am
asking you as a member of this country, as a taxpayer but most of all I am
asking you as a mother, to help my children and revise this Bill so everyone in
this country can be equal.
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