Lester Feder is a reporter for left-wing BuzzFeed. A pretty fair reporter, Feder is nonetheless a partisan for LGBT causes; still he gives our side a fair and accurate shake.
He called me recently wanting to know about American influences in the current Irish debate over faux vs. true marriage. His narrative is that Americans like Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage and I have been pouring money and advice into the fight for traditional marriage in Ireland that comes up for a national vote on May 22.
I said that hardly any U.S. funds had gone to the Irish debate as U.S. marriage money had largely dried up after the courts hijacked the issue. I told him the Irish did not need our advice on messaging because it was abundantly clear that the best message centered on the need of kids for both a mom and a dad. The Irish did not need any special spoon-feeding from Americans on that.
Feder nonetheless reported that David Quinn of the Dublin-based Iona Institute had conversations with Americans and had received a small grant from an Italian NGO. This was apparently enough to send shockwaves through the LGBTentsia. Outside influence, particularly American influence, is supposed to rile the Irish.
What Feder did not report and almost certainly won’t report is the massive amount of American money funneled into Ireland on the LGBT side from something called Atlantic Philanthropies, a billion-dollar foundation created by American businessman Chuck Feeney.
In 2005 there was a little organization called the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) that “was essentially a voluntary organization with a single-funded post working on gay HIV strategies.” Starting in that year, little GLEN started getting donations from Atlantic Philanthropies and by 2011 had received $4.7 million.
Now they are “a full-time, highly professional lobbying machine. It works ‘inside’ the machinery of government where it uses a ‘principled pragmatist’ model in which it consolidates support, wins over the doubtful and pacifies those who are opposed.” According to Breda O’Brien, writing in the Irish Times, in 2009 alone GLEN made 348 media appearances, this in a country where there are few media outlets.
According to O’Brien over 3 months in 2009 GLEN met with “40 politicians, including three [government] ministers one-to-one.”
GLEN is not the only recipient of lavish Gay American largesse. Marriage Equality got $475,000, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties got a whopping $11 million.
BuzzFeed wants the Irish to be angry that David Quinn of Iona had some conversations with Americans, but is utterly silent about the millions an American businessman has spread around LGBT circles to convince the Irish to vote for faux marriage.
It’s not just Big Gay American Money going to fool and even threaten the Irish people, it is also despicable American corporations who are saying a “no” vote will harm the Irish economy, including Twitter, which hardly has a presence in Ireland at all. According to the American “Irish Central” website, “A ‘No’ vote in the marriage equality referendum could have negative consequences for investment in Ireland.”
Beside Big Gay American Money, and threats from American corporations, another thing the Irish faux-marriage campaigners have going for them is the Catholic Church, which is the perfect punching bag and much of it deserved.
The Church lost credibility over sex scandals and therefore may have had a negative impact on the current debate. But, churchmen harmed the institution long before because Ireland was truly a priest-ridden society. The Church was never meant to be as intrusive into people’s lives as it was in Ireland. When finally shaken off, the people went rapidly in the opposite direction.
There is also the desire of many people to appear to have thrown off the shackles of the dead past and to stride purposefully into the bright sunshine of progress and blah blah blah. A concomitant side of that is the deadly desire for human respect, to show the world how wonderful you are, and what could be more wonderful these days than supporting faux marriage?
So, given Big Gay American Money, anti-Catholicism, threats from American corporations, and the desire for human respect, it is entirely possible the people of Ireland will do what no other national group has yet done; vote in favor of faux marriage. Polls are now running upwards of 78 percent in favor.
Before the champagne corks pop, advocates should consider that polls have ever been inaccurate predictors in marriage votes. Polls are one thing. Polling places an entirely different thing.
Most polls have run overwhelmingly against true marriage. Certainly in leftist states—California comes to mind—but even in conservative American states, polls have run against us.
It is not a bit surprising that polls have gone this way. After all, we live in an age where the wrong answer on faux marriage can cost you your job or your business. Why would anyone tell an utter stranger on the phone that they oppose faux marriage? It is surprising that anyone does.
So, even 78 percent poll results in Ireland do not surprise, or even particularly worry because something happens in the privacy of that voting booth. In there, people are free from gay coercion, free to consider what marriage really is, free to consider that children really do need a mother and a father and that two men can never be a mother and two women can never provide a father, free to vote no on faux marriage.
Come May 22, the Irish people will surprise everyone, but not me.