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An inconvenient truth about the Irish marriage referendum

first_imgThe Irish Times 25 May 2015Seven hundred and thirty-four thousand, three hundred people did not vote No to love and equality. They are just as generous and inclusive as their neighbours who voted Yes, and just as fond of their gay relatives. In fact, some of them are gay themselves.That does not fit the dominant narrative that only people who were rigid, intolerant and fearful voted No. It is an inconvenient truth that this was not a referendum on whether we like gay people or not.People who voted No recognise marriage as the place where society celebrates sexual and gender differences as deeply embedded features of the human condition, primarily – although by no means exclusively – because it produces children. They wanted to preserve that in our social structures and law.The vast majority of Yes voters also voted from generous and humane impulses. More importantly, parents and relations of gay children, in particular, desperately wanted to convey to their children that they were just as equal as their straight siblings. We can all admire that and understand why they feel they have achieved that objective.We do not have to admire the fact that the campaign may have lasted weeks, but the soft coverage of gay icons and celebrities and “human interest” stories pushing the Yes side have been going on for years, with the enthusiastic collusion of the media.We do not have to admire a Government who relentlessly framed this so it was always going to be a battle between the heart and the head. We do not have to admire Government Ministers who talked about damaging the gay people’s mental health if we voted No.http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/breda-o-brien-an-inconvenient-truth-about-the-same-sex-marriage-referendum-1.2224422last_img read more

Incoming head of Iowa commodity group fears tough year ahead

first_imgRIPPEY — A farmer from west-central Iowa’s Greene County is taking the helm of the Iowa Soybean Association this fall but it comes with trepidation.Incoming president Tim Bardole of Rippey says these are very challenging times for soybean farmers. “It’s going to be a tough year,” Bardole says. “The association is funded from the Soybean Checkoff, a lot of it, and with the low prices, a tough planting season, there’s a lot of unknowns and a lot of budget issues.”Many commodities have seen poor prices for several straight years and they’re slow to recover, while Bardole says recent tariffs and trade troubles have made matters worse. “We need worldwide free trade,” Bardole says. “The U.S. farmer, even in tough times, we’re very good at producing soybeans and all of the other agricultural products. The U.S. definitely feeds the world.”Bardole took a trip to China earlier this year and saw up-close how that country’s enormous numbers depend heavily on American growers. “I’ve been to Malaysia and the Philippines,” Bardole says. “The world very much depends on U.S. agriculture for the good of their population.”While foreign travel helps Bardole learn to appreciate what challenges other nations face, he also sees how much they appreciate us. “We have a lot of responsibility to do what we do and to do it very well,” Bardole says. “When you go to these other countries and once they find that you’re a farmer from Iowa, the respect that you get is somewhat overwhelming.”Bardole will take office in September. He comes from a farming family and his father was the president of the I-S-A in the late 1980s. The Ankeny-based Iowa Soybean Association has 11,000 members.last_img read more