Letters: Marriage is for the children’s sake

WHILST I am not a Catholic, may I entirely agree with Andrew Gray (Debate, October 16). To my mind, marriage has always been a contract between two consenting adults endorsed by society to protect the children of that union.

I have no problem at all with society supporting partnerships, whether sexual or non-sexual, and I may even go farther than many and suggest that, eg, a pair of siblings that have lived together in adult life should be offered the same rights and privileges of any other cohabiting partnership. If people decide to live their lives together and make a contractual commitment to do so, then it is only fair that society recognise that commitment and make fair provision under the law for them to share of pensions, housing etc.

But that is entirely different from marriage. Marriage is there to protect the children that result from a sexual relationship. Society overwhelmingly benefits from the long-term relationship we call marriage and in return there must be incentives for those intending to have children to form that stable relationship called marriage. If we no longer wish to moralise about the need for men and women to “get hitched” to protect the children, then we are going to do it some other way and that inevitably means digging into our pockets and to make marriage financially beneficial.

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But society does not benefit from “marriage” between other partners – overwhelmingly, they benefit, not society. So, there is absolutely no prejudice in saying there is no reason for society to dig into its pockets and encourage those who cannot have children to “tie the knot” because by doing so we just take away resources from those who do have a partnership which we all recognise is predominantly there for those intending to have children.

So, please can we have some sense: some laws should apply to all partnerships of which marriage is just one, other laws are there for the benefit of the only partnership that overwhelmingly needs support for those having children: marriage.

Mike Haseler, Lenzie