AMF President contribution at 24:14mins
JENNY BROCKIE: Okay, David, you're a GP and a local member of the Liberal National Party in Queensland. Your response?
DR DAVID VAN GEND: It seems to me that we're getting away from the foundation of marriage. We're talking about ethnic colouring to marriage, about religious colouring to marriage...
JENNY BROCKIE: We're talking about tradition, we're talking about culture.
DR DAVID VAN GEND: Yes, but culture and tradition merely enrich marriage. Marriage, as the great anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss said is "a social institution with a biological foundation". So society doesn't create marriage, it simply recognises its biological reality - male and female having offspring - and tries to bring some order to bear. Every society has to apply great effort to build up that natural biological bond so that men, feral-by-nature men, will stick with their mate and both will stick with the child who typically arises from the union - because if you don't, you've got chaos. Now that is the anthropological origin of marriage in every society...
PHILOMENA HORSLEY: Jenny, as an anthropologist I have to disagree, really quite frankly there are many different ways that different communities have formed families and brought up families and had sex, you know, same sex and opposite sex. So anthropologically that's a very old-fashioned view. But I think the discussion so far is a perfect argument for why we need to abolish marriage as a state - seriously, abolish it as a state institution - Everybody.
JENNY BROCKIE: You're not going to abolish, you're not going to abolish marriage, I mean it's not going to happen. I think it's very unlikely it's going to happen in the short, medium or quite possibly long term. Okay, up the back, yes?
PATRICK LANGRELL: I think there's another view on the table, the view that sees marriage between a man and a woman about bringing men and women together to become husband and wife, so they can become father and mother to however many kids that they have. Now not every marriage ends up having kids but every child born has a mum and dad.
JENNY BROCKIE: Penny, your response, you're a mum?
PENNY WONG: I don't like the way children get used in this debate. And…
PATRICK LANGRELL: That's a consequence of it.
PENNY WONG: Well you may laugh but as a parent I don't like the way in which some people feel it is permissible to speak about my child in a way that is often denigrating and that's one of the really, I think, sad things I think about this debate. Whether or not you decide that we can get married is not going to prevent same sex couples having children, we do, we already do so if it becomes…
DR DAVID VAN GEND: Coherent laws would stop that. Coherent laws would say that the only heart of the debate…
PENNY WONG: You can decide to…
DR DAVID VAN GEND: ...is that a child should have the right...
JENNY BROCKIE: You think there should be laws against gay couples from having children?
DR DAVID VAN GEND: No, no, if it's from other marriages and other unions, no, but there should certainly be laws against the intentional creation of children by single men, for example, using surrogacy - which is going to be overturned in Queensland by the LNP - and there should be a consistent principle, one principle that no law should stand or be created which diminishes a child's right to both a mum and a dad.
PENNY WONG: I'm not going to get into that.
JENNY BROCKIE: I mean on that, on that basis you wouldn't allow IVF, yeah?
DR DAVID VAN GEND: For a married couple, certainly, but not for a single woman - no, not for a single woman.
PENNY WONG: Let's, I'm not going to engage in that. But no one in this debate is arguing that civil society should impose on churches or any other religion. In fact, what is being argued is the opposite. I've always found it really interesting that there would be people who actually suggest that somehow because this relationship would be legally recognised, that that somehow is destructive of any else's. I mean well, it's a pretty fragile institution if you really think that having these two young men be able to be married is somehow going to delegitimise in any way the relationship that you have.
I sometimes think that people forget how it is heard and what effect that has on people, you know. People suggesting you want to get married to nature or it is like polygamy or some of the appalling comments which have been made or the comments about children which the young man at the back has made. People hear that, children hear that, we hear that in our relationship – I can cope with it. I often think of – imagine Ben five years ago or imagine the kid living in regional Victoria who is not able to come out, hearing that. Perhaps in this debate, if we could have a bit more conscience compassion, whatever your views, about how people hear the sort of prejudice and message that you are not okay, I think would be helpful in this discussion.
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