Marriage referendum


Sir, – David J Strahan ( February 6th) writes that he hopes the Government would “reconsider the current proposal and come up with a revised definition and wording which would preserve the distinction between marriage and civil partnerships of the same sex, and one that would be just and fair to all”.

Surely this is ignoring the very reason the proposed referendum is called “marriage equality”. An unnecessary distinction between marriage and civil partnerships for same-sex couples is not something which is just and fair to all, because it is treating the relationships of same-sex couples as being something less than equal.

The meaning of marriage is in no way being fundamentally changed or altered. Nobody gets married simply because the other person is of a different sex or has the ability to have children. It’s not the gender of the persons involved which matters, but the love that they share and the commitment they’re making. Treating the relationships of same-sex couples as being anything less than equal is most certainly not just and fair to all. – Yours, etc,


Ratoath, Co Meath.

Sir, – Here we go again! Every time this nation sets out to hold a referendum on an issue touching on the personal and social lives of its citizens – whether it be divorce or abortion or, this time, equal marriage rights for same-sex couples – the opposing sides call in social science to back up their claims. Then we have the inevitable attempts to demolish the credibility of the studies highlighted as favouring the arguments of the opposition. No social science study is perfect. It is always possible to be critical about the sample size, the sampling method, the nature of or lack of a control group, etc. What must be done is to examine all relevant studies to weed out the bad from the “good enough” and then weigh the evidence from the better studies in order to identify the findings that converge and might permit the drawing of some conclusions.

In June 2012, the American Psychological Association (APA), the largest professional organisation of psychologists in the world, said: “On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the APA and other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.” – Yours, etc,


Fellow Emeritus,

School of Psychology,

Trinity College Dublin.