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Marriage is based on a man and a woman who rear their own children

While comments from three well-known and reform-minded priests (Frs Iggy O’Donovan, Brendan Hoban and Peter McVerry) in the media about the proposed marriage referendum are clearly their own personal views, and not on behalf of any order or diocese, or the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), it certainly does the ACP or its concerns, no favours if leading figures in or sympathetic to it can be perceived not (a) as (rightly) opposed to enforcing Catholic canon law via the Constitution or law of this State, but (b) as unconcerned with maintaining what is the universal model of marriage as between male and female, a model which long pre-dates not only Roman Canon Law, but also the gospels and indeed the Hebrew bible.

It seems to me that this issue is being totally misunderstood - the UN in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Dec 10, 1948 [ Art 16 ] was not reflecting a Catholic or indeed any religious dogma when it defined marriage - it rejected as unjust discrimination merely any state limits on the right to marry based on religion or race or ethnicity, while the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 and the UDHR, like both the US and Irish Constitutions, have no explicit or even implicit right to homosexual marriage and the vast majority of States do not provide it.

The core issue is simple - every child has the inherent and fundamental right to both know, and be reared by, their own natural parents, while every father and mother has a strict ( and non-transferable) duty to rear any children they have conceived together.

I have no problem with merely re-titling the existing civil partnerships as marriage provided that neither single people (be they heterosexual or homosexual) nor same sex couples have a right to adopt or to surrogacy. You either accept - or reject - that male and female are neither identical nor inter-changeable and that both child-bearing and child-rearing ought to be based on that fundamental and enriching human diversity.

Rejecting this Government’s social re-engineering has nothing to do with what I passionately repudiate - with enshrining one iota of Roman Catholic canon law in either the law or Constitution of our democratic and secular Republic.

Nor is this about tolerating or promoting any injustice or hostility to same sex couples.

Nor is this about compensating them for many grievous past wrongs.

It is simply about defending our common human heritage of marriage as between a man and a woman who then rear their own children .

Tom Carew

Ranelagh

Dublin, 6

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