Marriage not all about kids

Ms Ho Lay Ping claims that married couples who cannot have children experience anguish at not being able to fulfil a basic aspect of marriage ("Marriage should support kids' well-being"; Tuesday).

This is preposterous. My wife and I are not able to have children, but we are far from being pained and tormented. We know of other infertile couples who lead similarly happy and fulfilling lives.

Other couples choose not to have children. Do their marriages fall short of Ms Ho's judgment?

When it comes to children, the crux of the issue is not in the gender of the parents. It lies in parenting. Would a child be better off with different-sex parents who are abusive and negligent, or with same-sex parents who are patient, nurturing and industrious? Empirical studies and anecdotal evidence point to the latter.

More fundamentally, marriage has nothing to do with children. I do not know of any place, Singapore included, that questions a couple on their ability or desire to have children before approving their marriage.

I agree with Ms Ho that marriage is a social good. It grants legal rights to loving individuals.

So there is no reason why these same protections should not be extended to loving couples who happen to be of the same sex.

Coming from a minority race, I know what it means to be discriminated against. I would not wish such discrimination on same-sex couples when it comes to love and marriage.

Barry Shankar

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