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The definition of 'marriage'

I think we made a mistake when we coined the word "marriage" to describe the lifelong conjugal relationship between a man and a woman. We should have called it "man-womanage".

Then it would have been easier to understand that two men can't enter such a relationship - the notion of same-sex, or "equal", man-womanage is misconceived.

It is not a matter of "privilege holding all the power", as Stephen Glenn says (Writeback, December 1). Two men can have relationships, indeed, but not man-womanage.

Of course, Stephen is right not to marry a woman he doesn't love. But that is not a matter of "unfairness". It is not to be compared with slave-owning, for example, since we all have the same rights and freedoms under the law.

And to suggest that Jesus would have countenanced same-sex marriage is historically untenable. Compassion, yes, towards those who struggle with their desires. But not permission to follow them.

DERMOT O'CALLAGHAN

Hillsborough, Co Down

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