One year ago yesterday and three moral issues were in the headlines: the vote in favour of the Marriage Bill (same sex couples); the acceptance, at last , of guilt by the Irish government in the scandal of the Magdalene laundries; and the revelation of the conspiracy of cooperation with the CIA in its ‘rendition’ programme.
A Moral Trilogy
5th February 2013
Notes: Three ‘moral issue’ headlines today: “Gay marriage: MPs back legislation”. The Commons voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, at the end of a full day’s debate. The Prime Minister described the move as “an important step forward” that strengthens society. About 140 Conservative MPs are thought to have voted against the plans.
“Magdalene laundries: Ireland accepts state guilt in scandal”. Following the McAleese report Ireland has officially recognised the state’s guilt in the “enslavement” of more than 30,000 women, the “Maggies”. They were sent against their will to the Magdalene laundries, run by various orders of nuns, where they received no pay, no pension and no social protection, serving in some cases “life sentences” simply for being unmarried mothers or regarded as morally wayward. The inquiry into the Magdalene scandal was finally prompted by a report from the UN committee against torture in June 2011. Magdalene laundry victims are commemorated with a memorial in Glasnevin cemetery.
“Rendition: How 54 nations – and ‘Axis of Evil’ – cooperated with CIA in wake of 9/11”. More than a quarter of the world’s countries provided covert assistance to the United States in its extraordinary rendition programme in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, including some branded by Washington at the time as members of the ‘Axis of Evil’, a human rights group has claimed in its report “Globalising Torture”.