Questions responded to by Prof. Eamonn Conway, Patrick Treacy SC and Dr. Van Nieuwenhove and published in Ireland in February 2015.
Collected in two parts and adapted for Cayman in 2019 by Bishop Nicholas Sykes.
Question 1. Are the only arguments against same-sex marriage religious arguments?
Answer. Of course not! You don't have to be a person of faith to value the centuries of tradition which societies the world over have attached to the institution of marriage.
The first recorded marriage took place in Mesopotamia some 4,000 years ago, preceded by 'pair bonding' which was introduced in the Stone Age to provide stability for child-rearing, amongst other things.
Child-rearing has long been one of the principal reasons why 'marriage' is such an important rite within our society, and our definition of marriage - between one man and one woman - has always been based on the fact that only a man and a woman can create a child. This is the same no matter what your religious views are. Moreover, while medical science has enabled couples that are unable to conceive naturally to have a family, it has not ever been able to alter the need for a man and a woman to be involved in the process of conception.
The bottom line is that we are made male and female and that we are made through a male and a female, and this is a universal truth. The truthful understanding of marriage, as between one male and female, is then based on the very fact of how we are made, without any necessary reference to any relgious belief.
If you remove the gender basis of marriage and decide that it can be between two males or two females, you take away its essential meaning and engage in the imposition of a gender theory that says there really is no difference between a male and a female, and between fathers and mothers.
Through all prior generations and civilisations, marriage has developed certain meanings that are based on union between males and females.
One of these is the act of consummation of a marriage as sexual intercourse between a male and a female, which, if this does not occur, is a ground for the civil annulment of a marriage in some countries. Consummation of a marriage, as understood in such civil law, cannot occur in sexual acts between two men or two women.
Our language about marriage loses its meaning once we seek to maintain that marriage is not between a man and a woman. The complementarity of 'husband' and 'wife' and 'mother' and 'father' is pulled asunder.
Since March 2014, a same-sex couple can now become married in England and Wales where the registrar can say to two men "I now pronounce you husband and husband".
The concept of marriage as between two people of the one sex also serves to contradict fundamentally the whole reason why all of the generations and civilisations that preceded us based marriage upon male and female, namely that the procreation and raising of children is supported by a lasting bond with the child's parents. If human beings reproduced asexually and human offspring were born self-sufficient, would any culture have developed an institution anything like what we know as marriage?
Clearly, the answer is No.
In essence, irrespective of whether one holds a particular religious belief or none, the campaign to redefine marriage is not about extending marriage to couples of one sex only but about changing it to something that it just simply is not and cannot become.