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Irish Voters Defeat Leftist Referendum To Remove ‘Mother’ From Constitution

Mother holds one child by the hand and the other in her arm while taking in a view of the mountains.
Image Credit Josh Willink/Pexels

All who believe in the importance of marriage and family should thank Irish voters for decisively rejecting this referendum.


On March 8, Western civilization dodged a bullet. On that day, voters in Ireland went to the polls to vote on a referendum that could ultimately result in worldwide changes for the definition of the family.

The referendum sought to remove the word “mother” from the Irish Constitution, which for over 80 years has protected the traditional role of women in society, especially regarding their role in the home.

Voters were asked to approve new constitutional language that replaced the words “women” and “mother” with the following: “[T]he provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them” — a vague statement that could practically mean anything.

As my friends and colleagues John Stonestreet and Glenn Sunshine commented, “The change might seem small, but it would put Ireland in the position of attempting to be the first nation in history to eliminate from its governing language words that describe objective realities about people.”

They continue, “On the chopping block in this referendum is not only the support for stay-at-home moms and the recognition of the role of women as caregivers, but also the natural family itself. Another proposed change is to remove reference to marriage as the foundation of the family and the family as the foundation of society.”

While political and media leaders were confident of victory given the increasing secularization of the once highly religious Irish society (it legalized abortion in 2018), the people ultimately had the final say, voting to reject these changes to the Constitution by more than a two-thirds majority vote.

This is great news, but many here in America will just shrug their shoulders and ask, “So what? How does a vote in Ireland affect my life here?”

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, secular elites — including a few U.S. Supreme Court justices — have increasingly looked to laws enacted in other countries as legal precedents to promote, pass, and uphold similar laws here.

International law, for instance, has been cited as a precedent in Supreme Court decisions that have already had major social consequences in our nation. The passage of this referendum would have not only redefined marriage and the family, but would have also given those seeking an even more radical gender ideology more ammo to push even further for the total elimination of male and female roles — ironically erasing many of the gains women have made to become more active participants and be better protected in societies around the world.

“Attempting to make women interchangeable with men on every level, feminist philosophies downplayed women’s strengths and unique abilities. This created the space necessary to theorize about gender as something distinct and separate from sex, determined not by biological realities but by the roles the two sexes play in society,” Stonestreet and Sunshine write. “Having already erased any distinctives, no firm foundation remained to define ‘man’ or ‘woman.’ Thus, we hear, sex is assigned, gender is nonbinary, and ‘woman’ is a subjective experience.”

And once “subjective experience” trumps reality, the God-ordained uniqueness of women is not just diminished but, in some cases, eventually erased from society as men move in and take over institutions that were set up to provide women with opportunities and protections, such as women’s sports and women’s shelters.

It has been said that “nature abhors a vacuum.” Thankfully, Irish voters recognized this and saw how removing specific language affirming the role of women with vague, ambiguous statements would create such a vacuum and allow all sorts of other radical agendas to take root.

All of us who believe in the importance of marriage and family should thank the Irish voters for decisively rejecting this referendum. But as we have seen in the past, regardless of how soundly this referendum was rejected, secular elites will redouble their efforts and engage in new forms of deception to eventually wear down voters and get their way.

That is why, while Ireland and the rest of us dodged a bullet this time, we must remain vigilant. We must not fall asleep simply because we won one battle in an ongoing war for the meaning of the sexes. For now, Irish eyes are smiling, but we all must keep our eyes focused to ensure that future attempts to radically redefine civilization are defeated as well.

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