Marriage receives special status because of the protection it affords children, not the recognition it gives to adults, a homosexual commentator in the Irish Daily Mail has said.
Richard Waghorne also warned that “selfish” attempts to introduce same-sex marriage are in reality “a demand for marriage to be redefined”.
His comments echo the concerns of Michael White, an Assistant Editor at The Guardian, who says marriage exists so children can be raised in a stable environment.
Mr Waghorne, commenting amidst increasing demand for marriage to be redefined in Ireland, said: “Marriage is vital as a framework within which children can be brought up by a man and woman. Not all marriages, of course, involve child-raising.
“And there are also, for that matter, same-sex couples already raising children. But the reality is that marriages tend towards child-raising and same-sex partnerships do not.”
He added: “So the question that matters is this: Why should a gay relationship be treated the same way as a marriage, despite this fundamental difference?
“A wealth of research demonstrates the marriage of a man and a woman provides children with the best life outcomes, that children raised in marriages that stay together do best across a whole range of measures.
“This is certainly not to cast aspersions on other families, but it does underscore the importance of marriage as an institution.”
He concluded: “If gay couples are considered equally eligible for marriage, even though gay relationships do not tend towards child-raising and cannot by definition give a child a mother and a father, the crucial understanding of what marriage is actually mainly for has been discarded.
“What that amounts to is the kind of marriage that puts adults before children. That, in my opinion, is ultimately selfish, and far too high a price to pay simply for the token gesture of treating opposite-sex relationships and same-sex relationships identically.”
Mr Waghorne also criticised the way people who oppose redefining marriage to include same-sex couples are often vilified.
Earlier this year the British Government announced that it intended to “formally look” at redefining marriage and imposing the new definition on the UK.
But Michael White, an Assistant Editor at The Guardian, said: “Aside from all the theological, moral and cultural freight, there’s an important practical distinction here which goes to the root of any society – namely that heterosexual marriage is there to produce and raise children in a more or less stable environment.”
Mr White, writing on The Guardian’s politics blog, went on to warn that no amount of technology could “eliminate the need for a female egg and a male sperm to make a baby. On that fact rest all successful societies since the year dot.”
Melanie Philips, writing in the Daily Mail, said: “Gay rights supporters contend that there can be no justifiable objection to extending the status of marriage to those who are not heterosexual. Gay or straight — what does it matter, as long as two people are committed to each other?
“But those who make this argument merely reveal they have no idea of the significance of marriage. They seem to think it’s just another contractual arrangement involving a binding (or not so binding) commitment — like buying a house or a car.
“But the truth is that marriage is a unique institution because it involves the process by which humanity reproduces itself — which is only through the union of male and female.”