Press release from The Iona Institute: Redefining marriage will undermine the natural rights of children
Press release from The Iona Institute
Redefining marriage will undermine the natural rights of children
November 5, 2013- As expected, the cabinet has agreed to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage at a future date.
The debate over same-sex marriage is really about the value we as a society attach to motherhood and fatherhood and the natural ties between children and their parents.
To date, it has been presented as an equality issue. However, it is no breach of the equality principle to treat different situations differently. The sexual union of a man and a woman is unique and warrants a unique social institution.
Marriage everywhere has arisen out of certain important facts:
- The sexual unions of men and women are different from any other kind in that they can give rise to children. This is of the utmost social significance.
- The sexes are different from one another
- All children have a mother and a father
- The roles of mothers and fathers are complementary
- The natural ties between children and their biological parents are important
It is true that elderly and infertile couples can marry, but the marriage of any man and woman does not deny any of the above facts. Changing marriage to accommodate same-sex couples treats all of them as unimportant or outright denies them and says they should be treated as unimportant in law and in social policy.
For example, same-sex marriage advocates insist that the roles of mothers and fathers are not complementary and say the natural ties can be deliberately broken.
It now seems clear that virtually all of the political parties in Ireland are prepared to radically change for the worse the most important child-centred social institution we have.
They no longer see any reason why we should have a social institution dedicated above all to encouraging men and women to raise their children together. To this extent, they are attacking the natural rights of children.
Commenting on the cabinet decision, Dr John Murray of The Iona Institute said: “This debate is really about the value we attach to a child having a mother and a father as distinct from two fathers or two mothers. Do we think having the love of a mother and a father confers any special advantage on children or not? Do we think the natural ties between children and their parents matter at all?
“If we redefine marriage, we will be saying as a society that these things don’t matter. We will also be saying that the sexual union of a man and a woman isn’t different in any socially significant way from that of two men or two women. Given that only the former can result in children, this is plainly untrue. Different things should be treated in different ways. This does not violate the principle of equality.”
He continued: “Marriage does not need to be redefined in order to take care of children raised in other family forms. The rights of gay couples, and other people in caring relationships can also be taken care of without redefining marriage. Many of them have already through partnership rights.
“Redefining marriage is ultimately an attack on the natural rights of children. It is a step we should not take, especially by a Government that claims to be in favour of children’s rights.”