Wednesday, February 22, 2006


'What If'? Wednesday - Gay marriage?

Ciivl partnerships should be allowedOne of the big stories doing the rounds lately concerns a poll conducted by the Irish Examiner which found a tiny majority of Irish people in support of some form of gay marriage.

Fifty one per cent of respondents to the Irish Examiner/Red C survey said they were in favour of giving legal status to gay couples.

I imagine people meant civil partnerships seeing as a 'gay marriage' is an oxymoron what with a marriage being a union between a man and a woman. I personally have no problem with some sort of civil union set-up being implemented, akin to what is in the UK at present. What I am more worried about is the poll's findings on the issue of gay adoption...

Opinion was split exactly 50:50 on this issue. I must admit that I personally find this both surprising and disappointing. I would have liked to have seen more support for the traditional family unit.

The survey found that acceptance of homosexuality was found to be strongest in the younger age groups and among people with higher income brackets.

However, one-in-six respondents still said they thought homosexuality was wrong, with twice as many men as women harbouring such an attitude. One-third also said they would be uncomfortable with having a gay family member, while the same number said they would hesitate to vote for a gay politician in the next general election.

In relation to the above points, my own answers would be that homosexuality is not wrong, but it is not natural either. I would have to say that having a gay family member would be uncomfortable for me but it wouldn't make me love them any less. As for a gay politician, I don't think a person's sexuality matters so much as their ability to do their job.

Like I said though, the one issue that troubles me is the issue of gay adoption. I favour civil partnerships for gay couples but I don't believe the traditional family unit needs to be thrown out of the window too. I think it offers the healthiest life for a child and the best environment. I wrote this post a couple of weeks back in support of the Irish Examiner's Ronan Mullen who admirably stood up for the traditional family model. As Mr Mullen said:

"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."

He is quite correct. Take for example this piece from Sociologist David Popenoe:

"Children need both a mother and a father. Why? Sociologist David Popenoe of Rutgers University has done extensive research on the different functions that mothers and fathers play in their children's lives. His studies show that while fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative and risk-taking, mothers stress emotional security and personal safety. When disciplining, mothers provide important flexibility and sympathy, while fathers provide predictability and consistency. By nature, same-sex couples are unable to provide one-half of this equation."

I think that sums things up pretty well and it backs up my own my views on the traditional family unit. But what about your views? For this week's edition of 'What If'? Wednesday I thought I'd put four questions to you all which this survey happened to touch upon.

Answer honestly. OK:

1. What if some form of gay marriage was made law? Would you be in favour of this?

2. What if there was a desire to allow gay couples to adopt? Would you be in favour of this?

3. What if you found out you had a gay family member, for example your son or daughter? Would this make you uncomfortable?

4. What if a TD you supported turned out to be gay? Would this affect your decision to back him/her?

I'd be interested in hearing your responses.


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