The entire speech seems very relevent to womens and gay rights today.
It is not a question of finding it legally difficult or impossible to grant to a minority what the majority does not wish for itself. You are to insist upon members of the Church of Ireland or members of no church taking a certain view of Biblical criticism, or of the authority of the text upon which that criticism is exercised, a view that they notoriously do not take. If you legislate upon such grounds there is no reason why you should stop there.
I can see why it was not taught in schools as several things he talked about did come to pass in “good catholic ireland” under the thumb of the church (where it has come out some of great injustices to women and children in recent years)
For example they did take away civil marriage
There is no reason why you should not forbid civil marriages altogether seeing that civil marriage is not marriage in the eyes of the Church——
They did legislate on religious grounds and pass over responsibilities to religious institutions.
Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds you open the way for every kind of intolerance and for every kind of religious persecution. I am not certain that there are not people in this country who would not urge you on to that course.
. The rights of divorce, and many other rights, were won by the Protestant communities in the teeth of the most bitter opposition from their clergy. The living, changing, advancing human mind, sooner or later refuses to accept this legislation from men who base their ideas on the interpretation of doubtful texts in the Gospels. It is necessary to say, and I say it without fear of contradiction, that there is not a scholar of eminence in Europe to-day who considers that the Gospels are, in the strict sense of the words, historical documents. Their importance is devotional, not historical. For any ecclesiastic to advice statesmen to base legislation on a passage that may lack historical validity, is to appeal to the ignorance of the people.
This is rather interesting. I can see why this did not come up in history class. However maybe it should have. Its important to see even people who do good things, can also be weak.
I am thinking of O’Connell, Parnell, and Nelson. We never had any trouble about O’Connell. It was said about O’Connell, in his own day, that you could not throw a stick over a workhouse wall without hitting one of his children
I also think that I did not really understand the history of women in ireland until I read about some of what was not mentioned in the history books, that men could divorce women but women could not divorce men (before that right was taken away altogether) , that women under the free state where banned from some jobs, that women who were basically serfs and servants had high rates of rape and violence, that they were sent as slaves at times elsewhere, that they often worked just for bed and board and had no actual money of there own, that they often had no control over any of the family finances, that in the courts there words where not listen to etc
I think unless you here individual accounts of some of these, its easy to not fully understand it, to lessen the experiences they went through.
We maybe should not shy away from these things, we should probably talk about it in secondary school so that we help people understand what it is, so we have empathy and avoid prejudice.
I am not confining the majority of the people in this case to any one section of the community, but I am taking the community as a whole, apart from any religious views, and I say that if the great mind and heart of the people are correctly defined they will be found absolutely against divorce in any shape or form.
This is always funny, I am not thinking of the religious views and the minority, I just think if we think of the group as a whole, more people will think what I think. So therefore I ignore the minority and do what the majority want.
Ah such a flawed way of thinking, and again because we do not study these things, we see this again today.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.-George Santayana
This is an interesting perspective. I wonder if divorce would have passed if more women were elected.
Countess of DESART: In the name of woman I protest against the idea that it is divorce that destroys the sanctity of the home. Surely, the law laid down 3,000 years ago by the greatest legislator, took the more sensible view of the matter. The Mosaic law, as can be read in the Bible, not only permitted divorce but enjoined it. The law recognised that it was the seducer in the home or out of it, not the judge in court or Parliament, who breaks up the home.
It realised that it is the sanctity of the home far more than that of the contract that really matters; that to anchor the guilty man irremovably to the hearth he violates, or to cast the guilty woman on to the streets, cannot  make for morality or for a high standard of virtue. It would be a hideous injustice to the women of this country, because, as Senator Mrs. Wyse-Power has stated, the man can go across the water and shake the dust of this country off his feet to a country where he can reacquire the freedom of which we would deprive him. The woman cannot go. You condemn her to a life of misery or isolation, for a woman in so false a position must be ten times more circumspect than any other, if she would safeguard her good name. If guilty, she must spend the rest of her days as an example of the wicked, flourishing like a bay tree or as an eyesore in a land hitherto famed for its high ideals of purity. We protest against the taking away from the minority of a right which it has enjoyed for nearly two hundred years. Senator Moore stated that there were only five applications for divorce in 100 years, and that shows that the right the minority claims has never been abused. We protest against taking away a liberty given in the Constitution to the minority.