Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Southpaw535, May 22, 2015.

  1. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Noticed this on my facebook feed and its caused me to sit and think for a minute.

    Basically, there's apparently a decent number of people, particularly young people, of Irish citizenship who live abroad returning to Ireland to take part in the gay marriage referendum. I can't find any guesses on the exact number of people doing it (the number of expats able to do it is 60,000 according to the Guardian but obviously there's not that many people doing it) but there are a lot more photos of it doing the rounds than I expected. I thought it was another thing where people were sticking hashtags on their pages and then going back to whatever they were doing with their lives and feeling good about themselves but no, there's actually people following through and doing it.

    And I'm not sure how I feel about it. On one hand I strongly support gay marriage (or "marriage" as I'd prefer to call it) so I'm happy there's going to be more people voting that way. But that's me being biased.

    Looking at it objectively, I don't know if I agree with expats being allowed to vote in a referendum to effect a country they're no longer living in. I should say there's a limit of being out of the country 18 months to be eligible so its possible there's students studying abroad and things like that doing it, in which case it is a decision that effects them and that's cool. But what if they've actually moved abroad? You could say that as they're Irish and its their home nation they have a right to a say in its affairs. Or you could say they don't live there anymore so why should they be influencing a decision that will only effect other people and not themselves.

    And I have no idea which of those two arguments I find more compelling.

    There's also a wider moral stance to take on it and say the decision might not effect them, but they have an opportunity to pro-actively impact a decision on equality (I also kind of want a thread to discuss the fact that in this day and age its perfectly normal for people to say "no I don't support equality" and its sort of alright to say that so long as its about gay people) and force progressive change. They might not live there, but in terms of changing society as a whole and having an obligation to your fellow man and all that jazz, they're doing the right thing regardless of the impact on them directly. Which is another argument I feel myself leaning towards especially given how much I bitch about people circle jerking with hashtag campaigns and clicktivism without actually getting off their butt to do anything meaningful.

    Anyway, I've rambled enough. As I say I'm conflicted on where I stand with this. So, thoughts?
  2. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I seem to remember a similar discussion taking place about the Scottish independance referendum.

    Seems to me like you've got three choices.

    1. Only Irish citizens living in Ireland get to vote.

    2. Only the inhabitents of Ireland get to vote, regardless of citizenship.

    3. Only Irish citizens at home and abroad get to vote.

    4. The inhabitants of Ireland plus any Irish citizens living abroad get to vote.

    That's four choices!
  3. embra

    embra Valued Member

    Once the Gay marriage referendum passes in Ireland, Poj and Roj can finally get married. As this is a family site, you have to go to Youtube to view Ireland's finest comedians Poj and Roj.
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Something like this shouldn't even be up for vote.

    Everyone should be able to marry whom they wish.
  5. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    Quite right. Marriage is part of the Irish Constitution and any changes to the constitution need a referendum, hence the vote.
  6. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I read the prediction is for yes by a fairly wide margin which surprised me given, you know, its Ireland. How NI is part of the UK but allowed to have different marriage laws I do not understand.

    Course the solution is for us to do away with marriage full stop and recognise it as a purely political/financial contract and make a "co-habitant certificate" or something.
  7. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    The referendum is in the Irish Republic, not in Northern Ireland. But NI has it's own legal system anyway, rather like Scotland does. There are three entirely seperate legal systems within the UK.
  8. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    Potentially not for long. The clowns over here in NI can't agree anything, and it is probable the local assembly will collapse (again) in the next week or so due to an argument over welfare (though it has a lot to do with political tribalism).

    In that instance, Westminster will again assume direct rule over NI. So they could, in theory, push out same sex marriage legislation during direct rule.
  9. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Its possible I get bad information from the one person I know who lives there :p I know its not as bad as NI for the religiousness but I thought it was still relatively powerful there?

    Doesn't mean I can't think its dumb. In either case you're dealing with British citizens and a question of equality. Its strange to me to have Brits be equal in one geographic area and unequal in another. Although I'm less surprised by that in the US so maybe its a question of size to me. I dunno.
  10. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Stormont / Direct rule, and the NI legal system are two entirely different things. (The 'executive' and the 'legislative' to get all technical on yo ass.)

    Even during the long tears of direct rule inthe seventies and eighties, and legislation concerning NI needed it's own specific bill. It didn't temporarily come under English Law.
  11. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    I definitely fall on the side of allowing expats to vote.

    I'm British but currently live in Germany. That doesn't change that fact that I'm a British citizen; English, not German, is my first language and I'm engaged with British politics in a way that I'm just not with German politics. For me, Britain is my home and I just happen to not be there at the moment.

    I'm sure that's how many Irish expats feel in this case.

    I'm really glad to have a postal vote in British elections but if I didn't, I'd be travelling back for voting day.
  12. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    Interesting, I didn't know that! Can bills relating to NI be passed in Westminster in the event of direct rule? Sorry if that is a simplistic question.
  13. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I think it's a moot point because you said "it only affects people who live there" when in fact it affects absolutely no one. Nothing would change for the average Irish person, except maybe a few more wedding invited a year.
  14. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Depends what you mean by "living abroad". Do you mean people who are away for a few years, but will be moving back? People who have permanent residency in another country but still have their home country's passports?

    18 months is a short time. My father was posted abroad numerous time for a 3 year period, he worked for the military. Would you say someone in that situation couldn't vote? What about my mother who kinda had to go with him?

    Honestly, it's just not that simple. Too many variables.

    I actually don't know if I can vote in the UK (I don't even care to know) and as I have been an ex-pat for about 15 years with permanent residency status for about 8..I actually wouldn't. It's no longer "my country" and the decisions kinda don't have any influence over my life. I think it would be a bit...wrong.
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  15. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    It isn't a simplistic question at all! It's a rather complicated situation in many ways.

    The legislative assemply for NI has always been Westminster. That's where the laws get made, and that applies to English law, Scottish law and NI law. It has been the case ever since the respective Acts of Union which abolished the parliaments of Scotland and of Ireland, which had previously been the legislative assemblies for those two countries. (Ireland hadn't been partitioned back then of course.)

    Upon it's creation, NI had it's own executive assemply at Stormont, which ruled the province on a day-to-day basis, but had no law-making powers. It was suspended by Westminster in the early seventies and 'direct rule' from westminster replaced it.

    Now Stormont is back, and like the Scottish assembly it has a limited range of executive powers, ceded to it from Westminster. But NI laws still have to be passed/amended/repealed at Westminster.

    I hope that's a better explanatination than my previous (pathetically brief) one!
  16. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Touche. Actually one of my favourite points in favour of marriage equality :p

    Yeah this one is, on reflection, a bit of a non-issue. As you say 18 months isn't a long time at all and as most of the people doing it seem to be my age or younger I'm assuming its students, backpackers, things like that. Not necessarily people who packed up their wife and kids and settled abroad with a new career type thing.

    Military has rules specifically for it with regards to voting. The nature of the job makes it a pretty unique case. I imagine there's similar provisions for diplomats and embassy workers.
  17. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    Outstanding! Thank you sir.
  18. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    I've just been scanning some EU info trying to make sense of the voting rules, it seems to be whatever the home country's legislation is.

    I think it should go on your residence status; temporary, then yeah, no matter how long you have been abroad. Permanent residence status, then nope.

    The annoying thing is, in the EU at least, you can't vote in the national elections, only local and European ones, until you're a citizen. So someone like myself doesn't get to choose who wastes the tax money I have given them for about 15 years.

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