We should not redefine marriage

I congratulate Nadine DeGroot for her compassion for same-sex couples. 

I agree that we should show compassion to same-sex couples, but not by redefining marriage. At present everyone in Australia is free to marry, because marriage by definition is between a man and a woman.

Same-sex couples are also free to enter a civil union which will give them every benefit currently available to married couples, thanks to legislation passed in the Australian Parliament in November 2008, with broad support of both sides of parliament.

This issue, therefore, is not about intolerance. 

It’s about the definition of marriage.

Marriage is more than just loving couples sharing their lives together. 

Traditionally marriage has been understood as an ‘honourable estate’; that is, it is an institution that deserves respect in and of itself. 

The purposes of marriage have been for millennia held to be the procreation and the nurturing of children, the proper place for sexual intimacy and for the sake of lifelong companionship. 

The fact that there are childless marriages, sex outside of marriage and divorce does not change the purpose of marriage. 

It just means that not all marriages fulfil the purpose. 

Marriage, therefore, is more than just what two lovers want to do together. 

It involves children, and how our society considers family. 

If marriage is redefined to include same-sex relationships then it will change forever what is considered normal and best for children. 

The success of same-sex marriage will not only marginalise the principle that biological parenthood is normal and best. 

It will mean that the discussion of whether children need their biological mother and father is over for good, because such a claim will be regarded as discriminatory against the necessarily non-biological parent or parents in a same-sex marriage. 

To be as equally married as anyone else requires that we never again question the various ways children enter these marriages, and whether these means of having children are best for children. 

This is the nature of the debate.

I agree with Nadine that we need more compassion in this debate and less blind ignorance. 

Unfortunately Nadine does not help the debate by labelling those who disagree with her homophobic —  an all-too common ploy of those who wish to redefine marriage.