Marriage referendum


Sir, – When two people, not bound by blood or kin, love each other to such a profound depth that they want to make a lifelong commitment of faithfulness to each other, then that deserves to be acknowledged, celebrated and solemnised. We are all the better for it – individuals, families, communities and society are life-enhanced – and God in his heaven rejoices. That’s why I will be voting Yes on May 22nd. – Yours, etc,



Mount St Alphonsus,


Sir, – It could be argued that the real issue at stake in the coming referendum is the fact that the Constitution gives a special place to the institution of the family and formally commits to guarding marriage as the foundation of the family. This effectively creates an inequality as some citizens are, at present, prevented from entering that institution. If there are those who strongly believe that this prohibition should remain, then an alternative would be to rewrite Article 41 to remove the special constitutional position of the family (and marriage). This would have the added benefit, I suspect, of providing permanent employment for hundreds of lawyers for many years to come. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Perhaps I could be of some assistance to Joseph O’Connor’s Martian acquaintance (April 28th)? The Martian is incorrect to state that some people believe that “a pregnancy brought about by two deeply loving and committed parents who happen to be gay is morally indefensible”. No one believes this to be “morally indefensible” because it does not happen.

It is completely understandable that a Martian might be confused about Earth biology which is so radically different from the biology that exists on the red plains of Mars. The Martian may be surprised to discover that on Earth, a couple of the same sex cannot bring about a pregnancy. A pregnancy requires a man and a woman. Of course, not all male-female couples can have children together, but most can. This differs from gay couples where none can have children together (though one member could have a child with a third party of the opposite sex).

The difference, between “most” and “none”, is significant to many, though I accept that this might be difficult to understand for someone who lives on a different planet. – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.

Sir, – As I live “over here”, I cannot vote, but my sentiments are on the Yes side. But I see Paddy Power is offering 1/10 on a Yes result and 5/1 on a No. Should I ditch my moral compass and campaign for a No vote? – Yours, etc,




Sir, – The State, carer for the common good, has a moral duty to safeguard an institution that, across the world and through millennia, has been regarded as the best available for the begetting and rearing of children.

When a man and a woman commit to each other for life, and commit to take responsibility for any child that may result from their union, we have up to now called that marriage. If the definition of marriage is extended to include other constellations of adults who commit to each other for life, what new name will we give to the traditional institution? And to what will the Constitution give the special care it pledges to this institution (heretofore called marriage), on which the family is founded, that “natural primary and fundamental unit group of society”? – Yours, etc,




Sir, – The “child needs a mother and a father” posters serve to strengthen the resolve of the Yes side. They alert us to the existence of stultifying mindsets which some children may still be exposed to, at home and elsewhere, even in these enlightened times. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 12.

Sir, – I support full equality for gay people in taxation, inheritance, adoption, etc, but cannot understand the obsessive pursuit of the use of the term “marriage” to describe their loving relationships. It appears to me that equality is being conflated with sameness in the debate. It is possible to treat people differently but equally.

It is possible to discriminate between people while not discriminating against anyone. Gay people are self-evidently different in their sexual orientation and proudly note that difference. The need for the term marriage to be redefined legally and linguistically to include their loving relationships is totally beyond me.

The sky will not fall whatever the outcome of the referendum. Loving gay couples – like loving straight couples – will surely continue in loving relationships irrespective of the term used to describe that relationship. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 24.

Sir, – I’m rather confused by what lack of moral inhibition people will exhibit if the marriage equality referendum is successful (Michael Austin, April 29th).

The proposal before the people is one sentence and 17 words long. It will enable civil marriages to be conducted in registry offices. A public commitment of love is not immoral. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.

Sir, – We have had same-sex marriage in Canada since 2006. The sky has not fallen in and life continues much as it did before. Same-sex marriage has not diminished heterosexual marriage in any way.

I sincerely hope the Yes vote succeeds. In a few years I’m sure people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. – Yours, etc,