Last Friday’s 62% vote in Ireland to legalize ‘gay marriage’ has been hailed as a triumph of progressive thinking by the mainstream media and the political establishment.
The outcome shocked many in the pro-family movement. But what the mainstream press isn’t reporting is even more shocking.
There is no question that the secularization of Ireland, the weakness of the Catholic Church and refusal of the Pope to intervene, the corrupt political class, and the relentless pro-gay media were all contributing factors to the ‘gay marriage’ vote.
But the “Yes” vote would still most likely have failed if it had been a normal Irish election. Those same general conditions existed in many places here in the U.S. from California to Maine where “gay marriage” failed to win a popular vote.
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This “culture war” election was conducted under extraordinary conditions that have never been seen anywhere before in the West. As we described in our pre-election article, virtually all of the effort to pass “gay marriage” in Ireland came from massive funding from the United States – primarily a billion-dollar pro-gay foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies – in a sophisticated campaign spanning over a decade.
Background: Years of referendum losses by the LGBT movement
To understand how this Irish election was won, a bit of history from the U.S. is in order.
Most of us forget that for over 20 years, the idea of a “gay marriage” referendum passing anywhere seemed next to impossible. From 1998 to 2009, there were 31 statewide votes to completely ban “gay marriage.”
All of them won. Some won by majorities as high as 80%. Even in Massachusetts, the LGBT lobby fought furiously to keep a “gay marriage” ban from coming to a vote. Their own leaders had come to believe that the only way they would make any “progress” in the U.S. was through the courts.
The big LGBT turnaround in 2012
Then, after the their 2009 “gay marriage” referendum defeat in Maine, the homosexual movement decided to craft an entirely new approach toward elections.
They brought together groups of political strategists, psychologists, pollsters, organizing experts, and various “think tank” types. They meticulously studied the data and their election experiences and designed a new set of strategies and tactics to win against their “right wing” adversaries.
They created a sophisticated propaganda campaign. They shipped thousands of activists into key voting areas to canvass door to door. In order to soften the average people toward homosexuality and create an animus against traditional religious values, they resurrected many of the “big lie” techniques used by the 20th-century totalitarian movements.
For example, people were told over and over that not allowing “gay marriage” was bad for the economy and that only backward, ignorant, and superstitious people were still against it.
Homosexuality was said to be the next phase of the Civil Rights movement. A key talking point was that by supporting “gay marriage” you are “on the right side of history” – a Marxist concept (later used by the Third Reich).
Fundraising became a major part of the strategy. For earlier elections they had casually raised about the same amount (or less) than the pro-family side. But now, they would tap the “gay” moneymen for very large sums of money.
And it all worked.
In November 2012 they won all four statewide “gay marriage” referendum votes: Maine (a re-vote), Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington. In those races they spent between five and ten times as much as the pro-family side.
Their propaganda was shrewd – for instance, putting forward friendly faces of “gay” couples who seemed just like everyone else. Their winning margins were not large (between 51% and 53%), but they won.
Shortly after the 2012 wins, the LGBT movement published an article in a Maine newspaper describing much of their “turnaround” process. And since then, they’ve been virtually unstoppable.
Laying the groundwork in Ireland over a decade earlier
Funded primarily by Atlantic Philanthropies, the Irish LGBT lobby groups started laying the groundwork over a decade in advance. Their ambitious multi-year plan (which they later outlined HERE) included a very sophisticated and aggressive lobbying effort targeting Ireland’s key politicians, which resulted in a long string of “incremental” parliamentary successes for the LGBT movement.
The National Catholic Register recently published a very good article chronicling this. Also, the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts has compiled a complete list of the major anti-family political actions over the past decades that helped bring Ireland to the state it’s in.
However, from the beginning the main goal of all of this, for both the Irish LGBT groups and their American funders, was to soften up the Irish citizenry to eventually win a nationwide “gay marriage” vote, which for constitutional reasons had to be done by a nationwide referendum.
The referendum finally took place on May 22, 2015.
Ramping up for a nationwide “gay marriage” vote in Ireland
It’s one thing to get a country’s parliament to chip away at the moral underpinnings through legislation. But it’s a much different challenge to get a country with a thousand-year Catholic culture to accept “gay marriage” through a nationwide vote.
So to take on the Irish election, the LGBT movement ramped up their effort tremendously over what they did in the U.S. elections.
The total LGBT funding to achieve “gay marriage” in Ireland has been estimated at between $17 and $25 million – roughly 50 times what was raised and spent by the pro-family side.
Their execution was planned and focused rather than scattered and haphazard as our side’s tended to be.
The lengthy and intense (and expensive) nationwide propaganda campaign used psychological manipulation techniques to pound the entire country. The average person could barely grasp the force coming at him. And that was just the beginning.
The arguments were not rational or truthful, but completely emotional.
People were told over and over that those opposed to “gay marriage”:
- Are opposed to democracy
- Will damage lives
- Are against human rights
- Will hurt Ireland’s international reputation
- Will hurt Ireland’s economy
- Are in favor of discrimination
- Are against love
- Are hateful and bigoted
- Are stupid and backwards
This all had a horrible effect on our side while galvanizing their supporters. It got to a point where people who persisted in holding these “backward” beliefs were considered inferior humans by the supporters. One could literally lose his job over it.
A particularly nasty venom was directed at religious believers and the Catholic Church. Many of our people became frightened and confused, while the other side became bolder and more vicious.
Ireland gets a lesson in ‘election mechanics’
As the election neared, the polls showed a 78% “Yes” vote coming up. But the homosexual movement knew they still weren’t safe.
Their brain trust realized early on that a great many people would simply “go underground” with their views and would vote their conscience on election day, but would respond to pollsters in a “politically correct” manner. They also knew that the bulk of hardcore “gay marriage” supporters were young people who had a terrible record of voting or even being registered.
They could still lose if those they really needed (those responding emotionally) didn’t register or vote. So months before the election – with the help of the country’s police force – they set up pro-gay marriage voter registration areas at college campuses.
According to eyewitness reports, these booths illegally skipped required steps in the registration in order to process more people. Over 50,000 college students were registered in this manner, and others already registered were identified. In addition, according to reports, they also had paid canvassers make sure that their likely supporters in the cities were registered to vote.
Then on election day, using sophisticated social media and other techniques, they had the most massive “get-out-the-vote” effort ever seen in Ireland. As a result, over 90% of known pro-gay marriage supporters voted, and 95% of registered college voters, according to one report.
On the other hand, many pro-family people, we were told, feeling overwhelmed and beaten down by the psychological techniques used against them and with no overall get-out-the-vote organization, never made it to the polls.
Nobody in Ireland had ever seen anything like this. There is no question that if the election had been conducted on an even playing field from the beginning (or even with just a 2-1 funding advantage) the “Yes” side would not have prevailed.
As one Irish voter observed, “If usual voting patterns had prevailed this would have been easily defeated.”
The pro-family Irish opposition – a valiant stand
Given the odds against them and the terrible psychological battle focused against religious believers, the Irish pro-family people stepped up quite admirably. But they were on their own.
“These groups received their funding from personal donations by private individuals. There was no big financial backing coming from anyone,” we were told by one of the Irish pro-family people.
They put up as many signs as possible, even though a great many were vandalized. They passed out many thousands of leaflets in cities and also went door to door in rural areas. One organization distributed over 91,000 pamphlets. A group of 12 Baptist churches put some ads in newspapers.
We were told that the Catholic Church was very weak on this issue and did not officially call for a “No” vote. According to the Catholic Action League, at least 15 priests publicly endorsed the “Yes” campaign and at least one bishop criticized the pro-family efforts.
Nevertheless, many individual Catholic priests were outstanding in their outrcy for a “No” vote.
Lacking sophisticated planning, there was no unified message. “Every child needs a mother and father” was the common refrain, which has a much stronger meaning in Europe because of outrage over child trafficking. Others used MassResistance information on what “gay marriage” brings to the schools and other social institutions. A few focused on the dangers of homosexual behavior.
Can this be stopped in the future?
There is talk about Italy being their next “gay marriage” target. They are also eyeing some of the African countries that have been holding out on “LGBT rights”.
Can this juggernaut be stopped?
Of course it can – with proper resources. Everything the other side does can be picked apart and be countered. Plus, working with the truth normally has a big natural advantage. Their lies, irrationality, and thuggish tactics only work because there’s no effective opposition.
The LGBT movement’s biggest triumph has been their ability to cut off the money supply to frontline pro-family groups. The millionaires and billionaires ostensibly on our side could easily donate many times the money necessary to fight this effectively.
But they have virtually all become emasculated by fear of the “gay mafia.” It’s quite pathetic to see, and it has had terrible consequences. So we need to create new methods of funding. Average people are more becoming more important than ever.
Also, many people in the pro-family movement (and many donors) still do not see this as a “war” to subvert society, but as a kind of religious/secular disagreement among individuals. This often causes our tactics to be skewed and usually only marginally effective. So even when we have the money, it often gets squandered on dumb things.
Let’s hope that we can all learn something from what happened in Ireland on May 22.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.