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Every child has the right to a mother and father

WHAT does Matt Cooper believe marriage is for? To judge from his column (August 28), he appears to believe it is simply a way two people can publicly affirm their love for one another.

What he does not address is why marriage is a social institution. Unlike marriage, friendship is not a social institution. It is not subsidised by the taxpayer as marriage is. It receives no legal recognition , as marriage does, even though two friends may share a house for decades and have become dependent on each other in various ways.

If marriage is simply two people who love each other making a public commitment to one another, why should it receive any more social support than friendship? Why should it receive institutional status? In fact, marriage has never received social support for the reason Mr Cooper describes.

The overwhelming reason marriage was turned into a social institution is because of children. Only a man and a woman can conceive a child together and only they can provide that child with a mother and a father. Every child has a natural right to a mother and father and should only be deprived of this through circumstance and never as a matter of deliberate policy, which is what allowing gay adoption entails.

Mr Cooper suggests it is arrogant to say heterosexuals automatically make better parents than homosexuals. This is a red herring. Who has ever said such a thing? Everyone knows there are bad and good parents across the spectrum.

Significantly, your columnist doesn’t ask the relevant question, that is, whether it is better for a child to have a loving mother and father rather than two loving parents of the same sex?

Evidently Matt Cooper thinks the sex of a child’s parents is entirely irrelevant and that children have no natural or even legal right to a mother and father, even though every child has a mother and father. This is an extraordinary attitude and it involves an implicit belief that fatherhood and motherhood, per se, don’t matter a bit. What accepting same-sex marriage does is to radically redefine the institution of marriage in such a way as to make us completely lose sight of a child’s right to, and need for, a mother and father.

Matt Cooper may be content to take this step, but it could hardly be more radical and he shouldn’t try to convince himself otherwise.

Finally, it is not good enough to say the arguments presented here are religious or apply only to religious marriage. They apply to civil marriage, too.

This is an issue concerning the common good and Cardinal Brady, just like every other citizen, has every right, and also the responsibility, to speak out about it. It is grossly unfair to accuse him of promoting greed, selfishness and exploitation, as Matt Cooper does.

Dr John Murray

Mater Dei Institute of Education

Clonliffe Road

Dublin 3


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