Independent Senator Ronan Mullen today called for a "lucid debate" on gay marriage in the *Irish Times *today, saying that there exists "real hatred about towards people who defend marriage as presently constituted."
"It would be strange" he wrote "for gay rights supporters to argue that the term homophobic was not defamatory. They, more than anybody else, have reason to understand how abhorrent homophobia is."
Writing after Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte criticised John Waters and The Iona Institute for seeking an apology and payout from RTE Senator Mullen said that people have a right to their good name
"Pat Rabbitte says public figures can't expect 'Marquess of Queensbury' rules but that is exactly what politicians rightly called for in last year's abortion debate. He said that recourse to a defamation action stifles debate. On the contrary, defamation law and the constitutional right to one's good name provide a minimum standard of protection and respect. Such protections exist as much for the people Rabbitte may dislike as for those he likes."