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Same-sex unions are equal, but they are also physically different

Many aspects of marriage are common to other relationships. If marriage is a matter of two people who love one another there is no problem.

But you and I know that a man-woman relationship is more than that, even if the Constitution says otherwise.

What is distinctive about the union of a man and woman is the conception of a child. Conception, of course, does not always occur — it can be prevented deliberately, or it can be prevented by age or disease.

But only a man and woman have the capacity to conceive without intervention. The amendment would remove what is distinctive about marriage as we know it. For this reason, the union of man and woman needs to be provided for differently in law than a same-sex relationship.

The right solution would be perhaps to make separate provision in the Constitution for same-sex unions, but not as marriage. This would recognise physical differences.

Some will say this is discrimination. This year, Ireland won the Six Nations Rugby — twice: the men’s team and the women’s team. Why two? Because of physical differences. It would not be wise to put the men’s team against the women’s team.

To treat them separately is not discrimination. It is common sense, responding to reality: the way we’re made. If for rugby, then all the more so for marriage.

Pádraig McCarthy

Blackthorn Court

Sandyford

Dublin 16

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