A referendum on marriage


A chara, – Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh writes (July 20th) that there’s surely a reason that most marriages throughout history have been between a man and a woman. There is. Most people are heterosexual. That this is true of the majority of people is not a good enough reason to deny what will always be a small minority of couples a chance to make the same commitment to each other.

In any of the 11 countries and six US states that now allow all couples to marry, naturally marriages between a man and a woman remain the norm, and are unaffected in their marriages by the change. How could allowing more people commit to each other send anything but a positive message about the value of marriage?

Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry will enhance their comfort and security, it will make gay children and teenagers growing up in Ireland feel more included in society; it will provide constitutional support as well to children being raised by gay couples, and it will give peace of mind to the parents and wider family of gay people. With all this, anyone opposed should really feel obliged to provide more than a semantic objection. – Is mise,


Westfield Park,

Bray, Co Wicklow.


St Kevin’s Road

Portobello, Dublin 8.

Sir, – In response to Michael Cleary’s annoyance (July 23rd) at having to change his dictionaries to accommodate a new definition for the word marriage, I would encourage him to look up the definition of the word etymology. – Yours, etc,


Madden Road,

South Circular Road,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – A few questions in response to David Wilkins’s comments on marriage equality (July 12th). While marriage may not be defined in the Constitution, its intentions are clear. Every source I consulted (with the exception of a recent Google dictionary) defines marriage as the social and legal union of a man and a woman to become husband and wife.Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary (Sweet and Maxwell, 2005) says: “Marriage is essentially a voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”.

Who introduced the term same-sex marriage? How is it defined and who qualifies for it? Could two cohabiting sisters avail of such a marriage if they so wished? Would they have to be declared “gay” to qualify? Could a father-son pair living together in the same house marry for tax/inheritance purposes? What about cousin, close relation same-sex marriages? The traditional prohibition on consanguineous marriages (based largely on genetic issues) might be deemed irrelevant since same-sex unions are intrinsically infertile.

Same-sex marriage is not merely an equality issue, as proposed by Mr Wilkins, but a complex, legal, constitutional issue with matters relating to definition, eligibility, entitlements, children and more. – Yours, etc,


Tivoli Close,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Keith J Dransfield’s letter (July 21st) defines a marriage as one that produces children. The inference is that any couple unable to have children are not in a valid marriage. This is the flawed thinking that promotes discrimination. – Yours, etc,