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Gay marriage

• Eoin Neylon in his recent article, 'Gays deserve equal rights -- not bigoted attacks and smears' (Irish Independent, March 27), cites a study which claims that in terms of raising children the sex of the parents doesn't matter, only "the relationship the parent had with their partner and with the child" matters.

What he is really claiming here is that motherhood and fatherhood per se have no special value or significance whatsoever to children. In the Brave New World envisaged by activists such as Mr Neylon, motherhood and fatherhood are replaced with gender-neutral parenting.

This is extremely far-reaching and radical. For a start, what is it saying to men about their value as fathers and to women about their value as mothers? What is it saying about the importance of the natural ties?

It is actually saying they don't matter at all because if motherhood and fatherhood are of no special value then the natural tie between a child and its natural mother or father can't matter.

Mr Neylon was behind the motions at the recent FF Ard Fheis in favour of same-sex marriage and adoption. They were passed by the handful of delegates present. But does the average Fianna Fail member really believe motherhood and fatherhood don't matter and that the natural ties don't matter? Deep down, does the average Irish person believe this?

Martin Deegan
Finglas Road, Dublin 11

• I'm at a loss to see why gay people would want to ape the institution of marriage when it so often fails in its current heterosexual incarnation.

The concept is flawed to begin with. This fairytale idea that because we're mad about someone now, we're still going to be mad about them in 10, 20 or 40 years' time makes no sense. It makes no allowance for the fact that we change throughout our lives and what we find wonderful now often seems childish and lame at some future stage.

I'm delighted for any couple who stay together long-term but from what I've seen, most couples split up within eight or 10 years. The fact that they're locked into his arrangement only exacerbates any problems they have and makes things more miserable for any children they have and for their wider family and friends.

Can't gay people come up with a better blueprint for couples instead of just looking to duplicate this rather uninspiring concept?

M Howard
Dublin

Irish Independent