". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Ireland Rejects Leftist Constitutional Amendments Targeting Family and Motherhood

March 12, 2024

The Emerald Isle has rejected leftist anti-family constitutional proposals in a double referendum. On Saturday, Irish voters overwhelmingly opposed two proposed constitutional amendments which would legally redefine marriage and motherhood. Over one-and-a-half million Irish voters showed up at the polls.

The proposed Family Amendment would have changed the Irish Constitution’s definition of the family. Currently, the constitution “recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law,” and declares that the family “is founded” upon marriage. The Family Amendment would have rewritten the constitution to explain that the family may be “founded on marriage or on other durable relationships” and would have struck from the constitution the clarification that family “is founded” upon marriage. Sixty-seven percent of Irish voters rejected the Family Amendment.

Also on the ballot was the Care Amendment, which would have removed two phrases from the constitution regarding women and mothers and replaced them with one gender-neutral sentence, removing any reference to women or motherhood. The Irish Constitution currently states that, “by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved” and pledges “to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.” Those declarations would have been replaced with the statement, “The State recognises that the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them, gives to Society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved, and shall strive to support such provision.” The Care Amendment was rejected by 74% of Irish voters.

The Irish Times noted that the proposed constitutional changes were rejected by “the highest percentage of No votes in any referendum in Irish history.” Out of Ireland’s 39 constituencies, only one voted “yes,” by a margin of only 255 votes.

Although the proposed constitutional changes had the support of the majority of Ireland’s politicians and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), a number of organizations campaigned for “NoNo” votes. Ireland’s Catholic bishops staunchly opposed the constitutional changes, issuing a statement to be read at every Mass across the nation ahead of the vote. The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference warned that the Family Amendment “diminishes the unique importance of the relationship between marriage and family in the eyes of Society and State and is likely to lead to a weakening of the incentive for young people to marry. While ‘Marriage’ entails a public and legal commitment, the term ‘durable relationship’ is shrouded in legal uncertainty and is open to wide interpretation.”

The bishops also noted that the Care Amendment not only removes references to women and mothers but to the home, concluding, “The proposed amendment would have the effect of abolishing all reference to motherhood in the Constitution and leave unacknowledged the particular and incalculable societal contribution that mothers in the home have made and continue to make in Ireland. … The role of mothers should continue to be cherished in our Constitution.”

The pro-life, pro-family Irish Freedom Party also urged rejecting the proposals and celebrated Saturday’s resounding “no,” writing on social media, “The referendum results reveal a huge disconnect between the people of Ireland and the political establishment. They seem to live on a different planet to normal people.” The conservative political party added, “This NoNo Vote is just the beginning of a Nationalist comeback. It’s a clear statement that we’ve had enough of weirdo Transsexual indoctrination of our kids, mass immigration into our country, and Uniparty instruction. We will not have mothers and sex-based rights removed from our Constitution.” Irish Freedom Party founder and president Hermann Kelly quipped that the redefinition of family would replace Irish families “with Mohammed and his four wives … a man and his dog, a woman and her cat.”

Irish Independent columnist Sarah Carey rejected the claim that those opposing the government’s anti-family agenda are “far right,” explaining in a media appearance, “The people who voted against the referendum, especially the mother one, we’re not members of the far-right, we’re not confused, we’re not misinformed.” Noting the government’s promotion of the constitutional changes, she added, “And if every single cabinet minister had walked up to my front door and asked me to vote for it, I wasn’t going to vote for it, because I was not deleting mothers from the constitution.”

A number of individuals touted the referendum results as a stern rebuke of the current government and its leftist policies. Senator Rónán Mullen commented, “I think this is a damning indictment of the secretive and sometimes duplicitous way the Government goes about managing information and the way the main opposition just go along with it.” He continued:

“There was ideology behind that, I’ve no doubt about it. It’s a gender ideology in part and they were uncomfortable with the word ‘mother,’ but they didn’t want to have that debate. … I spent a good bit of time around Dublin yesterday, and the single biggest thing that was coming across to me was the proposal on motherhood completely rubbed people up the wrong way. There was a real sense that this was a slap in the face to our mothers, not an equality statement for our mothers. … There’s a value to motherhood in the Constitution and people questioned if there was a new woke ideology here that wants to pack all that in.”

Laoise de Brún, founder of the pro-biological-woman group The Countess, said, “It’s a huge victory for the people of Ireland and it’s the first nail in the coffin for this ideologically captured government.” She added, “Ireland has become a testing ground for a whole range of unhinged hard-left policy that people do not want but are being forced on to them without mandate.”

Taoiseach (Ireland’s word for Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, who promoted the Family and Care Amendments, admitted his agenda had been defeated, saying, “Clearly we got it wrong. While the old adage is that success has many fathers and failure is an orphan, I think when you lose by this kind of margin, there are a lot of people who got this wrong and I am certainly one of them.”

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.