Bishop Kevin Doran and same-sex marriage


Sir, Bishop Kevin Doran (“Bishop says opposition to same-sex marriage not about homosexuality”, November 28th) asserts there is a “unique relationship between marriage and procreation” and that “this is the principal reason for the State to have any reason in regulating marriage”.

It may help to clarify the Bishop’s thoughts if he, and others, were to consider that marriage is a contract between two people for the joint ownership of property and its intergenerational transfer.

All the terms within this statement are capable of definition and regulation within the law as society changes its emphases over time. If he does not believe me, look what happens when a marriage breaks up. – Yours, etc, ROBERT TOWERS Monkstown, Co Dublin. Sir, Bishop Kevin Doran’s view that marriage is primarily about procreation (“Bishop says opposition to same-sex marriage not about homosexuality,” November 28th) is obviously incorrect, the former being in no way a requirement for the latter.

A majority of births in Ireland already occur outside of marriage and historically the notions of adoption or of acquiring stepchildren by marriage are commonplace.

Suggesting that the entire purpose of marriage is procreation is an insult to those married couples who for one reason or another cannot have children of their own.

Furthermore, tying marriage to an exclusively heterosexual biological event, while at the same time denying a bias against homosexuality, is a threadbare hypocrisy.

Marriage is a legal contract between two parties. It applies certain mutual rights and privileges, and complementary duties and obligations, in respect of each other and of property and minors in their guardianship.

The sexual, emotional or financial character of the interpersonal relationship between those parties is not material to its legal status.

While the open adoption of children by homosexual couples or procreation via surrogacy may be new phenomena, it is certainly the case that these children deserve the same protections and privileges in respect of their parents as do the children of heterosexual unions.

The bishop might find less opposition if they were to argue that a principal difference between a marriage and a “sexual friendship” is the legal framework to support parenthood, a possibility which in the modern world is equally open to heterosexual, homosexual and infertile couples.

There are obviously other spousal privileges and responsibilities conferred by marriage that have nothing to do with children but are still valuable and meaningful to society, such as next of kin status, inheritance rights and so on that the bishop seems content to ignore. – Yours, etc, JOHN THOMPSON Phibsboro, Dublin 7.