Ireland’s Labour Party is feeling heat because of a draft newspaper advertisement that depicts two leaders of rival political parties as a happily married same-sex couple.
The Photoshopped ad, as reported by the Irish Mirror, imagines Sinn Féin chief Gerry Adams and Fianna Fail leader Michéal Martin as bridegrooms. They hold hands, wear matching suits, and cut a wedding cake outside Leinster House, the seat of government in Ireland. Their faux wedding party includes several other well-known Irish politicians. The ad's text says, "This is one marriage we should vote NO to this year — Vote Labour for a stable and balanced Government." The text plays off Ireland's historic popular vote in favor of marriage equality last year.
Adams's party is active in both Ireland, the independent republic, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and it favors unification of the two Irelands. He has said he would be open to forming a coalition government with Fianna Fail if the two win enough seats in the republic's upcoming parliamentary election, but Martin has repeatedly said such a coalition will not happen. Leaders of the governing Labour-Fine Gael coalition, though, are using the possibility of such a coalition to shore up their support.
The ad is a draft and has yet to be published, but after reports about it surfaced, outraged supporters of marriage equality lit up Twitter in response.
— Jonathan Sugarman (@WhistleIRL) January 3, 2016
A source in the Labour Party told the Irish Mirror the ad was aimed at making a "serious point in a humorous way.” That point, the source told the paper, was to show voters their choice on Election Day is between "the stable, balanced Government offered by Labour and Fine Gael and a marriage of convenience between Fianna Fail and Sinn Féin that would destroy Ireland's hard-won progress."
Spokespersons for both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fail quickly dismissed the ad, as “increasingly desperate,” and ”clutching at straws in desperation,” respectively, reports the Mirror.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is likely to call the election for February 25 or 26, according to Ireland's Sunday Independent.