Thursday, February 02, 2006


Traditional marriage works best

The Irish Examiner's Ronan Mullen is in sparkling form again with this piece entitled, "Traditional marriage works best, but politicians are afraid to say so" as he touches on last week's report of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution which recommended to the Government that the constitution’s provisions on the family remain unchanged. The State will continue to pledge to guard with special care ‘the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded.’

The committee's proposals have angered campaigners for same-sex marriage and various groups representing non-traditional family types who wanted to see the constitutional preference for the family based on marriage confined to the dustbin of history.

I salute Mr Mullen for his brave stand on a difficult issue and I will outline most of the piece here. He writes:

"Some politicians believe same-sex marriage is not a good idea. They may want the traditional marriage-based family to retain its privileged constitutional status. But they won’t say so.

"They fear the hectoring judgmental language of liberal campaigners and their media supporters who portray all opposition to social change as backward, unthinking and narrow-minded.

"Last week the chief executive of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Keith O’Malley, regretted that the Oireachtas committee had not come up with ‘conclusions reflecting a more open and tolerant Ireland’ - ie, same-sex marriage. Since nobody likes to be described as closed and intolerant, the pressure to support Mr O’Malley’s agenda is great. Whether support for same-sex marriage really represents an open and tolerant position, however, is highly-debatable. Yet in a country where the media doesn’t often ask the hard questions of the liberal position, it is hard for people to make a stand.

"But some of our politicians really should. There is a wealth of information and analysis out there to show that children do better with the traditional family model. That children should ideally enjoy the society of their biological father and biological mother throughout their formative years should not be seen as an outdated concept when study after study is bearing it out.

"This is the single most important argument for keeping the constitutional link between marriage and the family, and for disallowing same-sex marriage (since the right to marry would inevitably lead to the right to adopt children). But remarkably, we don’t know whether and for how long the all-party committee deliberated about which domestic arrangements actually serve the common good and whether the law has any role in supporting such arrangements.

"My guess is they didn’t dwell on it for very long. For one thing, there is the fear factor described above. Secondly, you have the all pervasive notion that changing lifestyles must be reflected in changing laws, regardless of the common good. There were now 21 different family forms, the One Parent Exchange Network claimed last week, and they should all be recognised equally.

"But equality is not necessarily the answer. The role of the law is not simply to reflect what is going on in society. Politicians should ask what works well for society, and legislate accordingly.

"Otherwise they would have to legalise polygamy should a public appetite for it spring up at some stage.

"The danger in the present situation is that, under cover of respecting the traditional family in the constitution, the Dáil may be at risk of undermining it in legislation. One way of undermining the constitution is to ignore it.

"Take the provisions of article 41.2. in which the State recognises that "by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved," and pledges to "endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of her duties in the home."

"Leaving aside the claims of sexism in the language of this provision, was there ever a constitutional aspiration so pointedly ignored as this one? Charlie McCreevy’s introduction of tax individualisation some years back was entirely to the disadvantage of two-parent, one-income families. In a society where house prices and the cost of living forces both parents to work outside the home, such a provision illustrates how hollow constitutional rights can really be.

"The constitution may say one thing, but legislators can act in an entirely contrary spirit.

"For example, by conferring the same tax benefits on cohabiting couples as are applied to married couples they would undermine marriage. Those who believe that the welfare of children depends on strong State support for marriage will not derive much comfort from the maintenance of the constitutional status quo but will watch with interest to see what our legislators do next."

Excellent stuff from Ronan Mullen and I agree with him 100 per cent.

Let's be honest about this. The traditional family model is the best model available. Studies have revealed this and it's hardly surprising since this has been the way of human beings for centuries upon centuries, in a host of different cultures.

Mullen hit the nail on the head when he said that "The role of the law is not simply to reflect what is going on in society. Politicians should ask what works well for society, and legislate accordingly". This is the crux of the issue.

Does abandoning the traditional family model work well for society? I don't believe so.

Where does one draw the line? Do we legalise polygamy eventually as well?

It's time to stop the madness. It's time to stick up for traditional family values.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.