‘No case’ for redefining marriage

IN RESPONSE to Neil Barber (Letters, 23 November), the concern for maintaining the current definition of marriage in keeping with its reality as a natural institution is not about denying the rights of anyone, but in safeguarding the integrity of marriage in its social purpose and as an integral element of human ecology.

Marriage by its very definition exists between a man and a woman, and insofar as any human being can marry any member of the opposite sex they wish to (so long as the desire to do so is reciprocated), anyone can get married. No human right then is currently being denied to any individual.

Furthermore, the ability to marry is not contingent on fertility, but it is contingent on potency, on consummation – on becoming “one flesh”. On that requirement alone, the case for same-sex marriage fails.

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Every adult is free to love as they choose, but no-one is entitled to redefine marriage for all of us. Redefining marriage to mean a relationship between any two consenting adults is presented as a minor and positive change. However, if the law adopts this principle – that marriage can be whatever emotional bond the government says it should be – what stops the government from redefining marriage in other ways?

The case for protecting marriage as it stands is about restoring a culture in which children are most likely to be raised by the man and woman responsible for bringing them into the world. Sound public policy is based on the rule, not the exception, and most marriages do produce children.

Finally, there is no such thing as being on the “right” or “wrong” side of history. There is only being on the right or wrong side of truth and as Archbishop Fulton J Sheen once said: “The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it, and a lie is still a lie, even if everybody believes it.”

Martin Conroy

East Lothian

According to Hugh MacKenzie “the Roman Catholic Church is a not very benevolent dictatorship” because it does not abandon what it believes to be God’s revealed moral standards to court popularity (Letters, 23 November). Mr MacKenzie overlooks the fact that the Catholic Church is a voluntary association, whose membership is open to those who assent to its teachings. Calling it a “dictatorship” is just plain silly.

Neil Barber is correct: “Many straight people get married with no intent or ability to have children.” But their relationship is still of the sort that may produce children, regardless of their prior views and is also a suitable family structure to adopt children into. It does not undermine the purpose of the institution of marriage.

Same-sex “marriage” is only introduced in societies where the institution of marriage is already in an advanced state of decay, and contributes to further blurring of the understanding of the purpose and morality of marriage.  I have yet to hear an explanation why marriage redefinition should halt after same-sex “marriage”. Marriage is in danger of being dissolved into a meaningless nicety to satisfy the desire of adults to have their lifestyles endorsed by wider society. 

The real issue here is that the homosexual lobby demands affirmation of the moral choices of active homosexuals and will not rest until every distinction between homosexual and heterosexual sex is removed. Our politicians, generally with a secular, shallow and amoral philosophy of sexual relationships, are only too happy to oblige.

Richard Lucas


Colinton, Edinburgh