The nuclear family is key to welfare of society
Marriage by its nature, even from pre-Christian times, has both religious and civil significance.
Since the marriage ceremony, whether performed in a church or elsewhere, establishes the couple in a public state of life it is, and always was, fitting that its celebration be public before an authorised person and witnesses.
The marriage contract is based on the consent of a man and a woman to freely give themselves to each other, mutually, exclusively and definitively - and to accept joint responsibility for rearing their children. Thus the family is rightly regarded as the fundamental cell of society.
Breaking a marriage contract adversely affects the family involved, particularly children. Additionally the whole community must bear the increased social and economic cost of supporting single or abandoned mothers and children.
Thus our well-being is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life. Presently one-third of Irish schoolchildren are living in homes where one or both natural parents are missing.
As family life, based on marriage between a man and a woman, is the single most important institution of society it therefore deserves special recognition and promotion by the State.
So why are some local political parties seeking to undermine and weaken this fundamental building block of society? It seems their family policies are now skewed towards adults and adult autonomy rather than promoting child welfare.