Letter - We believe it to be wrong to intentionally design families without a mother and father
We, members of Aontas, an association of Bible believing churches in Ireland, are deeply concerned about the current proposal to redefine marriage. We believe that the Word of God is clear and unambiguous on this matter.
Nature provides that children are conceived through heterosexual union. Only heterosexual marriage, the basic unit of society, is in accordance with the teaching of the Bible and with nature itself.
Marriage therefore is not an arbitrary, man-made idea and has rightly enjoyed privileged status not alone in Western society but in societies throughout the world, because of the unique social benefits it offers. It is an 'honourable estate' based on the different, complementary natures of men and women - and how they refine, support, encourage and complete one another.
We believe that a genuinely enlightened nation will uphold laws that benefit the whole of society, particularly the vulnerable. We believe it to be wrong to intentionally design families without a mother and a father. We also believe it to be wrong that notional "rights" of adults should undermine the obvious rights and needs of children to a mother and father.
We are also alarmed at the impact that redefining marriage will have on our schools. If we pass this referendum, pressure will be placed on schools to teach that same-sex relationships are no different from the relationship between a man and a woman.
Already in the UK, primary school text-books promote same-sex relationships regardless of the wishes of parents. The Taoiseach has recently stated that schools will be expected to promote same-sex marriage, if the referendum passes. We do not believe that the endorsement of same sex marriage serves the greater welfare of children and young adults during their formative years.
If as a society we yield to the arguments for same sex marriage we will be unable to resist arguments for further re-definition of marriage including polygamy and polyamory.
We are also deeply concerned at the significant erosion of free-speech rights which goes hand-in-hand with the legalisation of homosexual marriage.
These concerns are based on well-documented evidence emerging from countries where marriage has been redefined Advocates of this measure can offer society no coherent basis for values or morality, but instead advance a morally relativistic ideology which, while claiming to promote equality and tolerance, is itself intolerant of any dissent, and justifies coercion and the suppression of conscience.
Under the Equal Status Act 2000, any person in business who cannot in conscience play a part in a same-sex ceremony may face hostile litigation.
We call on the Government to give serious consideration to the recent Council of Europe Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination report highlighting intolerance and discrimination against Christians across Europe, which called for the reasonable accommodation of individuals on conscience grounds.
As Christians we pray for those who take a different view. We urge our partner churches to show Christ's love to all and at the same time we urge a 'no' vote in the up-coming referendum.
Bill Brown and Michael Austin,
Grace Bible Church,