Wanganui Chronicle 20 Sep 2012
So much media stuff just now is about legal matters. We all have opinions and any comment may seem to be political. So be it – if politics is not about life, and if there are no differences of opinion, there is no conversation. So here are some personal comments – not to be mistaken for legal opinion. Marriage is just that – a contract between woman and man. Traditionally it’s an honourable estate – not to be undertaken lightly. It’s the foundation of family life, and fundamental to the law. With or without formal marriage, a whole family is the best place for children to happen and grow. Of course, marriages and families fail, but that’s no reason to reject or fiddle with the pattern. We may identify and somehow confuse marriage with religion – and so many seem to find religion offensive; but there’s no essential connection. It’s simply a legal contract, governed by the Marriage Act, and sometimes celebrated in a church. Why on earth is public opinion, on the one hand, sceptical of marriage; and on the other, wanting to dignify another kind of relationship with the name? To call it marriage would mock language and the law, and demean the institution. Does not every little girl (and a few boys) dream of marriage, and is it not the stuff of love songs and romantic poetry and drama? Marriage is available to everyone. Why spoil it for the sake of a few who choose to do something else? Those others can do what they like – if they value their relationship, they don’t add any quality or truth by calling it what it’s not. They can make their own contracts, and the law has accommodated them thus far by recognising civil union and extending the rules of relationship property. Must they also trample in the flower beds and spoil the dream?
John Tripe is principal with the Wanganui legal firm of Jack Riddet Tripe