Photo from The Age

Photo from The Age


According to the 2011 Census, same-sex couples represented about 1% of all couples in Australia. Children in same-sex couple families make up only one in a thousand of all children in couple families (0.1%).

But Senator Wong would have us redefine the relationship of ALL children to ALL parents - abolish "natural parents" in law and replace that with Big-Government-Defined "legal parents" - so that the one-in-a-thousand child of her lesbian partner can say she has a "normal" family.

"I find it sad that senior politicians in this country seem to want to tell my children and children of other same-sex couples that somehow they are not normal," Senator Wong told ABC radio on Monday.

No. The child is obviously normal, but the arrangement of adults in her household is not. That's not the child's fault and it's tough that adults have forced it on her - but adults do that sort of thing. We don't change laws as a form of make-believe, even to help gay couples feel OK about what they have done to their kids.

Margaret Somerville AM, Professor of Law and Medicine at McGill University in Canada, explains that same-sex 'marriage' "necessarily negates the rights of all children with respect to their biological origins and natural families, not just those born into same-sex marriages." 

Her article from The Australian explains what is at stake:

SAME-SEX marriage creates a clash between upholding the human rights of children with respect to their coming into being and the family structure in which they will be reared, and the claims of homosexual adults who wish to marry a same-sex partner.

It forces us to choose between giving priority to children's rights or to homosexual adults' claims.

Opposite sex marriage does not raise this conflict, because children's rights and adults' claims with respect to marriage are consistent. I oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and support legalising civil partnerships. But, I also believe that marriage should remain defined as being between a man and a woman.

My reasons go to the nature of marriage as the societal institution that symbolises and protects the inherently reproductive relationship that exists between a man and a woman and, thereby, establishes children's human rights regarding their biological origins and the family structure in which they are reared.

A central issue in the same-sex marriage debate is whether the institution of marriage is a purely cultural construct, as same-sex marriage advocates argue, and therefore open to redefinition as we see fit; or whether it is a cultural institution built around a central biological core, the inherently procreative relationship of a man and a woman. If it is the latter, as I believe, it cannot accommodate same-sex relationships and maintain its current functions.

Marriage is a compound right in both international and domestic law: it's the right to marry and to found a family. Giving the latter right to same-sex couples necessarily negates the rights of all children with respect to their biological origins and natural families, not just those born into same-sex marriages. The Canadian Civil Marriage Act 2005, which legalised same-sex marriage, demonstrates this in providing that in certain legislation the term "natural parent" is to be replaced by "legal parent". In short, the adoption exception -- that who is a child's parent is established by legal fiat, not biological connection -- becomes the norm for all children.

In the same vein, some Canadian provincial legislation replaces the words "mother" and "father" on a birth certificate with "Parent 1" and "Parent 2". And an Ontario court has ruled that a child can have three legal parents: her biological mother and her lesbian partner, and her gay biological father who donated sperm.

It's true that some opposite-sex marriages do not or cannot result in children. But they do not negate the norms, values and symbolism established by opposite-sex marriage with respect to children's human rights in regard to their natural parents and families, as same-sex marriage necessarily does.

Moreover, the dangers of same-sex marriage to children's human rights are amplified by reprogenetic technoscience. Developments like IVF, cloning and surrogacy pose unprecedented challenges to maintaining respect for the transmission of human life and the resulting children, because they open up unprecedented modes of transmission. When the institution of marriage is limited to opposite-sex couples, it establishes a social-sexual ecology of human reproduction and symbolises respect for the transmission of human life through sexual reproduction, as compared to asexual replication (cloning) or same-sex reproduction (for instance, the future possibility of making a sperm from one woman's stem cell and using it to fertilise another woman's ovum).

Recognising that a fundamental purpose of marriage is to engender respect for the transmission of human life provides a corollary insight: excluding same-sex couples from marriage is not related to those people's homosexual orientation, or to them as individuals, or to the worth of their relationship. Rather, the exclusion of their relationship is related to the fact that it is not inherently procreative. Same-sex marriage is symptomatic of adult-centred reproductive decision making. But this decision-making should be child-centred.


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