Sunday, May 24, 2015
Fintan O’Toole: Ireland has left ‘tolerance’ far behind
Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times
We’ve made it clear to the world that there is a new normal — that “ordinary” is a big, capacious word that embraces and rejoices in the natural diversity of humanity.
LGBT people are now a fully acknowledged part of the wonderful ordinariness of Irish life.
It looks like a victory for tolerance. But it’s actually an end to mere toleration. Tolerance is what “we” extend, in our gracious goodness, to “them”. It’s about saying “You do your own thing over there and we won’t bother you so long as you don’t bother us”.
The resounding Yes is a statement that Ireland has left tolerance far behind. It’s saying that there’s no “them” anymore. LGBT people are us — our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. We were given the chance to say that.
We were asked to replace tolerance with the equality of citizenship. And we took it in both arms and hugged it close.