Rose-tinted view

The Sunday Times - - YOUR SAY - STEPHEN MUR­RAY Al­bany

An­drew Hastie’s ar­gu­ment to vot­ing no to same-sex marriage (TST, Sept 10) seems to rest on com­pli­cat­ing the is­sue and ide­al­is­ing the in­sti­tu­tion when it in­volves peo­ple of the op­po­site sex.

He also seems to triv­i­alise same-sex unions and then paints a pic­ture of un­remit­ting neg­a­tiv­ity. Mr Hastie has helped me clar­ify my think­ing in favour of what I think is a more lov­ing, fair and in­clu­sive ap­proach to the is­sue. Like Mr Hastie, I deeply value the in­sti­tu­tion of marriage. Un­like Mr Hastie, I do not ide­alise it. Marriage is a life-long com­mit­ment to a part­ner who you love. The im­por­tant words here are com­mit­ment and love. If com­mit­ment and love re­main up­per­most in the mar­ried cou­ple’s mind and ac­tions, they have a good chance of suc­cess. It may or may not lead to the birth of chil­dren. It may or may not last as long as a life­time. It may or may not bring more hap­pi­ness than sad­ness. Mr Hastie also wor­ries par­ents “have lost con­trol of the ed­u­ca­tion of their chil­dren” when ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions have never been more aware of and re­spon­sive to the wants of par­ents.

Mr Hastie paints an apoc­a­lyp­tic view that “there will be much more mad­ness if we re­de­fine marriage”. Am I to be­lieve there is a mad­ness about com­mit­ment, equal­ity and love? Is there a mad­ness in adding to the sta­bil­ity of so­ci­ety? Is there mad­ness in an ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem that nur­tures our chil­dren so well?

Fi­nally, Mr Hastie wor­ries this “mad­ness” of re­defin­ing marriage will threaten “free­dom of thought, con­science and re­li­gion”. Free­dom of thought is one of the most unas­sail­able as­pects of be­ing a hu­man, so I think Mr Hastie is over­stat­ing the case here. I close wish­ing my fel­low hu­mans who want to form a marriage part­ner­ship with com­mit­ment and love all the very best. What­ever the gen­der of the two peo­ple it will be a chal­leng­ing and ful­fill­ing jour­ney.

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