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The redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples is not in the best interests of children, according to a column in today’s Irish Times.
The column, by commentator Richard Waghorne (pictured), who is himself gay, says that same-sex marriage would mean that marriage would lose “its nature as the one institution supported by society because it is the family form which on average gives a child the most advantageous upbringing”.
He writes: “Altering the focus of marriage from children to relationships disadvantages future generations to a no more necessary end than the further march of an increasingly cavalier and triumphalist liberalism.”
It comes amid increasing moves within the main political parties to push same-sex marriage. Both the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Ard Fheiseanna passed motions in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. No voices opposing same-sex marriage were permitted to speak at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis.
Responding to arguments made in the Irish Times by Kieran Rose of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) last week, Waghorne rejects the suggestion that marriage for same-sex couples is “a basic human right”.
He says that Mr Rose’s suggestion that this right is to be found in the UN Charter of Human Rights and “other human rights treaties” is based “on no more than assertion”.
He writes: “Recently, France’s supreme court has found that no discrimination is implied in the distinction between marriage and partnership provisions.
“The European Court of Human Rights has found there is no right to gay marriage in the European Convention on Human Rights and this does not amount to discrimination.
“In considering gay marriage, it is essential to see treating different situations differently in no way constitutes discrimination.”
Waghorne also says that not all homosexual people believe in the introduction of gay marriage.
He states: “As for claims raised in the name of the gay community, I would prefer if someone with whom I share nothing but sexual orientation did not use that rather uninteresting fact to raise in my name political claims I and others do not share.”
He says that gay marriage advocates were engaged in “the co-option of human rights language by an increasingly hegemonic strain of intolerant liberalism” and pointed out that certain rights were being portrayed as being more important than others.
“Whereas the “right to marriage” as pertaining to couples of the same sex is a recent invention, the right of a child to both a mother and a father where possible is not,” he said.