Robert Canning (Letters, 1 October) states that “the inability of a couple to procreate has never been a reason to disallow marriage”. This is true, but to use this argument in support of same-sex marriage looks at marriage from the perspective of the adults only.
Governments are interested in marriage because, until very recently, they recognise the biological fact that every child has a mother and a father. Marriage legislation, together with the presumption of paternity, recognises what is legally due to that child, namely a secure attachment to its parents.
To remove the gender requirement from marriage and erode the presumption of paternity to a vague presumption of parentage turns the essential public purpose of marriage upside down to view the relationship from the perspective of the adults only.
When viewed this way, contrary to what Mr Canning insists, there is more going for polygamy than there is same-sex marriage – a point noted by polygamists in Canada who have recently tested that country’s laws against their lifestyle by appealing to the very same legislation describing same-sex marriage.
In his rush to condemn polygamy, and by extension polyandry, Robert Canning of the Edinburgh Secular Society sounds as conservative as the religious conservatives he claims to oppose. This is a matter of equality.
Women and men who wish to have more than one spouse should be free to do so without interference, not only from faith groups, but also from socially conservative secularists such as Mr Canning. Polyandrous and polygamous marriage will not devalue or undermine the validity of homosexual or heterosexual marriage in any way whatsoever.
Why, then, is Mr Canning opposed to women and men who love more than one partner being able to marry those whom they love and cherish?
All these “slippery slope” arguments about same-sex marriage leading to polygamy are utterly specious. A law this important could not be passed without significant support in parliament.
People who claim to be worried about it would be doing better PR for their religions if they showed some kindness to people who simply want to commit to the person they love.