SINGAPORE - The term "gay marriage" suggests that certain groups of people are "banned" from marrying because of their sexual orientation ("Much ado about phrasing of question on gays" and "'I told the minister to send me to jail'"; both published last Saturday). Thus, its use is inaccurate.
In Singapore, a monogamous marriage is defined as a voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
The law asks no questions about their sexual orientation. So it is possible for a man and a woman to marry even if one or both of them have a homosexual orientation.
Therefore, the more appropriate term to use is "same-sex marriage".
The real question in the debate over same-sex marriage is not whether the sexual orientation of the parties is relevant to marriage, but whether the biological sex of the parties is relevant.
It has to do with the definition of marriage: whether marriage has an intrinsic essence, and what that essence is.
The conjugal view, which is the position in Singapore, recognises marriage as essentially solemnising a comprehensive, exclusive and permanent union based on the sexual complementarity of a man and a woman. It is intrinsically ordered to produce new life, even if it does not always do so.
This institution of marriage has been beneficial to our society as a whole, and should not be lightly abandoned.
- Darius Lee
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