Christopher Pearson, a columnist for The Australian, speechwriter, and strong defender of traditional marriage, passed away on Friday.

Pearson (pictured above) had a very respected career both in journalism and in politics. He was a speech writer for former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and also an editor for current Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott.

Pearson wrote with great clarity on a wide range of political and social issues in The Australian, including those relating to marriage and the family.

I remember back in November 2010 reading his piece Gay marriage demands should be left on shelf. At the time, this was the first really clear article on marriage that I had read, and certainly helped to reshape my view of the same-sex marriage debate, an issue which I didn’t have any particular interest in.

Two things occurred to me reading his piece. One was the lucidity with which he made the case for traditional marriage. In a few lines, he managed to explain the public interest of marriage being between a man and a woman more clearly than many others had over the years in Australia.

And the second was that as a homosexual himself, he made it very clear what the issue is in the marriage debate. The issue, he explained, wasn’t sexuality, or entitlements, or unjust discrimination, but rather the social good. It is very fitting to read his piece today, amidst all the smoke and mirrors in the current marriage debate.

To quote from this article:

Few have argued more consistently over many years than I have done that same-sex partners should get a fair deal on superannuation and other entitlements of that kind. Labor’s reforms in the last parliament mean that couples are treated pretty much equally except in the matter of marriage.

But the few remaining privileges reserved for matrimony are there for sound, practical reasons.

Men and women tend to have different needs and priorities when they enter a mature sexual relationship.

Most men are not naturally disposed to be monogamous, for example. One of the purposes of marriage is to bind them to their spouses and children for the long haul and to give the state’s approval to those who enter such a contract and abide by its terms.

Another of the purposes of marriage is to affirm that parenthood is a big, and in most cases the primary, contribution a couple can make, both to their own fulfilment and the public good.

It follows that societies which want to sustain their population size, let alone increase their fertility level, should positively discriminate in favour of stable, heterosexual relationships and assert the preferability of adolescents making a normal transition to heterosexual adulthood.

It should be obvious to unprejudiced observers that, while there are plenty of well-adjusted gays who manage to lead satisfying and productive lives, rational people do not of their own volition choose to be homosexual.

It should be equally obvious that those who, through whatever mixture of nature and nurture, end up at whatever age identifying as homosexual, bisexual or whatever, need to be protected from any kind of persecution.

It is also well worth reading his other more recent articles on redefining marriage, and also his very insightful and moving piece about how he reconciled his sexuality with his faith.

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Blaise Joseph is a third-year commerce student at the University of New South Wales with a strong interest in social policy. Blaise is originally from Canberra, the centre of politics and the public...