The issue that's dominated our Sunday Night Open Line recently has been same sex marriage.
After much discussion and debate, our listeners seem to have come to the conclusion that marriage exists mainly for the sake of children.
As one caller pointed out: no one asks the government to legally register their romance (the very idea is ridiculous). Marriage does not mean "a government registered romance" or "a government registered relationship". Marriage, the listeners decided, means "a legal name and framework for the care and nurture of children who may be born to the couple."
Most callers strongly expressed the belief that children should bond with their biological parents by knowing them and being raised by them as parents. They believe that children have a right to know their grandparents and their family tree-their family history and heritage. They believe children have a right to know their genetic history. Being raised by their biological parents connects children to their family, their history and their heritage. That's what our callers say they want.
One caller pointed out that the recent publicity given to the heartache of children taken from their birth mothers for forced adoptions makes the same point-kids need their biological parents.
Our listeners stressed that this preference for biological kids and mums and dads together should only be disrupted by tragedy: by death or disease or the breakup of a family. It's good that adoption and fostering exist as a safety-net-but that's what they are: a safety net, not a preference.
What name do we have for this system of children being raised by their biological parents? We only have one name for it said the callers: marriage.
It's true that not all marriages produce children, but that doesn't change the fact that the only name, and the only legal framework, we have for children being raised by their biological parents is marriage.
So, the callers kept saying, if we want children to be raised by their biological parents then we need to keep that name and that legal framework intact… and come up with other names for other relationships.
Do you agree or disagree? You can share your thoughts by calling on the open line (1300-13-1170) any Sunday night between 9 and midnight.