The Impact. The Kids

It would be naïve to suggest that a significant social change can occur without an impact on society, on marriage, and on children.

Marriage is an institution that long precedes us, and one that should remain long after we have gone. Tinkering with it may well be reckless so we must be prudent as we discuss these proposed changes, and do so with honesty and respect.

The impact on society

We would suggest that one of the reasons there is social discomfort with same-sex marriage is because so many people realise the foundational nature of the concept of marriage and the way it is intrinsically connected to the fabric and strength of our society.

Our society has always recognised this relationship as the unit around which society is built. After all, it’s opposite-sex relationships that produce children, and as children are born, a society grows.

Same-sex relationships cannot produce children. This is not a statement of prejudice or discrimination, simply recognition of the limitations inherent in same-sex relationships.

While no one is naively suggesting that opposite sex relationships are always idyllic, there is still a fundamental agreement that this is how our society best works – generationally.

The many things that make it a challenge to maintain strong healthy marriages are not reason to abandon the idea. To legally change what we recognise as marriage and marriage-like relationships is a defining moment for a nation as it is such relationships that we entrust to the next generation.

It’s not wrong, or hateful, or fearful, to want to proceed cautiously and carefully with any changes to the accepted and endorsed family structure. It’s responsible and wise.

The impact on children

Certainly, there are tragedies where a child cannot have both parents - through tragic situations such as the death or desertion of a parent. Family-Fun2-300x200However, the disadvantage of a motherless or fatherless home should not be inflicted on a child - with the complicity of government – by the legalisation of same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption and same-sex surrogacy.

Australian-born ethicist Professor Margaret Somerville condemns the deliberate destruction of a child’s biological identity as the child of a real mother and a real father:

It is one matter for children not to know their genetic identity as a result of unintended circumstances. It is quite another matter to deliberately destroy children’s links to their biological parents, and especially for society to be complicit in this destruction.

Some sincere people may question whether a child should be allowed both a mother and a father.

A group of young adults deprived, as donor-conceived babies, of the possibility of knowing both their mother and their father have come together as Tangled Webs Inc. They speak with authority (PDF 92KB) for the next generation of children - the next stolen generation - who will be deprived of what they call, very poignantly, a “whole mother”:

A child’s best interests are served when it is conceived and gestated by; born to and nurtured by, one mother. To fragment maternal roles through ova donation/gestational surrogacy is to deny a child its entitlement to a whole mother.

The UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child  affirms that "a child of tender years shall not, save in  exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother”, and yet ‘marriage’ of two men and subsequent surrogacy will do exactly that, in a premeditated way. A little girl must live without a mother, purely to satisfy the desire of two men to have a baby of their own. What then of the rights of the child?

The American College of Pediatricians in 2004 concluded:

'The environment in which children are reared is absolutely critical to their development. Given the current body of research, the American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation. This position is rooted in the best available science.'

Certainly, well designed and non-biased studies confirm that a child does best in every objective respect when raised by his or her own parents, or in the nearest equivalent context of an adopting mother and father.

It is often stated that it is better for a child to have two loving same-sex carers than a dysfunctional pair of biological parents. However, neither of these scenarios is in the interests of a child - and only the same-sex scenario is preventable.

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10 Responses

  1. As a child born through means of IVF I have to disagree with this wholeheartedly. I was raised by a single loving mother, and I cannot help but feel that the importance of this bond is being disrespected when you say “a child does best in every objective respect…or in the nearest equivalent context of an adopting mother and father”. Your generalisation and assumption of the quality of life of a child based on views of an ideal mother-father familial relationship strikes me as ideaology rather than fact. In my opinion, and in the opinion of the majority of the psychological community (Including but definitely not limited to: APA [http://www.apa.org/news/press/response/gay-parents.aspx], Australian Psychological Society [http://www.psychology.org.au/assets/files/lgbt-families-lit-review.pdf] who actually mention that LEGAL BOUNDARIES seem to be the sole threat to homosexual families), as long as a family maintains an environment of love, trust and stability, the structure of such a family should not come into question. I will allow that marriage, up until recently, has been successful and integral in maintaining a social relationship between two reproductively compatable parents, but human society is at a stage where a male-female marital bond is not compulsory for a family environment. Technology has brought us to a point where traditional gender roles are no longer applicable to the wider world.

    So my arguement maintains that the opinions present within this website are just that. Opinions. Selective only of facts that serve a singular ideaology that centres around the discrimination of same sex couples by shedding ignorance to the importance of love, trust and stability, and focussing solely on stagnant views that assume a /required structure/ of a childs family.

    If I have failed to prompt an honest and genuine response, please consider the following: Is it not better that an adopted child gain the love and stability of two same sex adoptive parents, rather than go through life without guidance from any parental figure whatsoever? Even today, and for a long time previously, have children been fostered to a single parent (naturally, with one gender). Why then is it any great distinction to be raised by two?

    Also, please do not judge the reliability of my opinion by my student status, and most definitely do not judge it by my familial situation. Thank you for reading.

    • admin

      Thanks Alex. Where possible, a child should have at least the possibility in life of a mother and a father. It is not clear from your comment whether your mother intended you to miss out on a father – like Amy’s mother in the blog post http://australianmarriage.org/on-radio-with-amy-i-desperately-wanted-a-daddy/
      Amy desperately missed having a dad; it appears you did not.

      We do not think any adult has the right to choose, in a premeditated manner, a fatherless or motherless existence for another human being.
      If, however, the loss of a parent occurs through tragedy such as the death of a parent, or separation of parents, that is different to an intentional act to deprive a child of a parent.

      There is no doubt that a single woman, or two lesbian women, can be fine people and loving towards a child; they just cannot be a dad to a little boy, or little girl – and in our view that relationship is of primal importance, not to be wilfully taken from a child.

      Your comments were thoughtful and are appreciated.

  2. Ren

    What if a same-sex couple doesn’t want kids, and just wants to spend their life with the person they love with all their heart? That wouldn’t impact kids at all – there are no kids.

    Also, what about couples who adopt kids? It’s the same either way – they go to a new home with new and loving parents. The only difference is that the adopted child who goes to the same-sex household will be taught equality.

    • admin

      Ren,

      Same-sex couples are already entirely free “to spend their life with the person they love with all their heart” What could make you think otherwise? A gay couple has the same rights and status as any de facto couple. They have no need of a government certificate for their relationship.

      And as you probably know from life experience, the couple who adopt a child are a close second-best to a biological mother and father; the best we can do in a broken situation. That is a world apart from two men pretending to be a child’s ‘parents’.

      • You’re not understanding that one thing many ask about relationships is “are you married?”. Many people just want to be married so that they can show to everyone that they have a love which is equal to everyone else’s.

        And this website is almost entirely dedicated to “protecting” the children, but same-sex couples already adopt children and achieve this through IVF and surrogacy. If your ONLY ARGUMENT is that there are children who have been “hurt” by same-ex couples then why are you against them marrying? Couples who can not marry may still choose to have children.

        I respect your views but unless they”re followed by proper reasoning then no one is going to listen to you.

        Lachlan

  3. Think of the child. All the child’s life, the child dreams of being a parent, loving, cherishing and nurturing their own flesh and blood. That child reaches adulthood and has never found an opposite sex partner – opposite sex or otherwise – to bring a child up with. Does that grown-up child not have the right to bring a child into the world? There are more and more women in this situation, educated, healthy, financially stable and loving women. What about the impact on them?

    Why is a child who is born not of both their biological parents assumed to be denied the right to know their biological parent? This is frequently not the case. Many children adopted into opposite sex parented families are denied the right to know the true identity of their parents. Legal marriage and same-sex parenting have no bearing on this.

    Preventing gay people from marrying has nothing to do with children. Gay people will have children together whether they can legally marry or not.

  4. http://www.TrueMarriageEquality.com I think the sensible objection to Same-sex “marriage” must be that we, as responsible adults, need to consider the welfare of the children. Marriage is for the benefit of a man and a woman and society, but ultimately it is designed for the protection and welfare of children, without which we have no continuing society. Undermining marriage therefore has widespread consequences. Placing children in situations where they do not have the natural love and protection provided best by a mum and a dad harms children, discriminates against them, and will have profound consequences in the future for Australian society.

    Is that what our forefathers fought and died for?

  5. As a child of same sex parents, I must strongly disagree with this article wholeheartedly. In my life I have never had any social or emotional issues that have greatly impacted my life, especially none that were caused by the absence of a father figure. I have always prided my self on my ability to make friends, to excel in social situations and also in my schooling. I am a 17 year old high school student currently completing year 12 VCE and I think that its safe to say that my loving parents have given me everything I could possibly hope for in my life and so much more. I was born on the outskirts of Manchester in England, however, in 2008 my family embarked on a journey to Australia. My parents intention behind this was to ensure a better future for my brother, myself and for them also. However, to move to a country in search of happiness and prosperity and then to be shunned by the government for essentially just being who they were is horrific.
    Why shouldn’t they have they have the right to marry?
    The reproduction argument?
    IVF. Adoption.
    The denial of a father figure argument?
    Specific male and female roles hardly exist anymore. It is widely known and accepted that men are just as capable of cooking and cleaning as women are of building a shelf or enduring a hard days work. What real loss is that to the child?
    The “oh they’re only a minority, why bother?” argument?
    Oh okay the. They’re only a minority. Should we discount black civil rights too then? I mean theyre only a minority right? Who really cares! Can you see the problem with this?
    The point that I’m trying to make here is that regardless of their gender, my parents have given me and my brother so much more than we could ever ask for. They have provided us with a home. With food on our plates. With a fantastic Australian lifestyle. With their LOVE.
    Why can’t Australia help me give back? Let their marriage be validated.

  6. We can’t just listen without giving some thought to any positive testimonials of people that were raised in a homosexual home. Because that person really needs to be reborn and raised by a man and a woman to see if there is something there that they missed out on.

    I am totally against anyone not treating homosexuals with the utmost respect they deserve. And saying horrible things about them and wanting to do horrible things to them. I am just against the way of life they choose. Countless times I have stumbled across posts on the internet accidently from unbelievers. They say things like our life was much better when we had Christ in our lives. Now we feel less happiness, anxiety guilt but that’s the way we want to live now. And I’m saying it might be the same for some of these gay people or it may not be the case at all. I think for SOME people a proper relationship with Christ produces happiness. I remember reading back some years about a man who was gay but married a woman and had kids. And he would visit his parish priest once a week for counselling and prayers. And little by little he stated it was difficult at first but later on it because so much more better being with a woman. And I just thought good on him! Obviously this is not for ALL.

  7. Just want to quickly rephrase something I said earlier which was rushed.

    Most of us believers and SOME unbelievers would agree that before Jesus there was no truth in the world.
    Pontius Pilate asked Jesus that same question. Jesus did a marvellous thing in that he among other things established truth for SOME of us in the world. Other great people also walked the earth but for me personally the greatest was Jesus. Some of us no longer need to feel lonely, depressed or confused.
    From my personal experience I know if there was no Jesus, I wouldn’t be able to trust anyone. No family, no friends nobody. It’s sad but true. Do we SLOWLY want to get rid of Jesus COMPLETELY by embracing the things that are against him? Jesus is a friend to the world!
    Jesus is not going away just yet. There are plenty of people in the world who believe in him or even if they don’t believe, saw him as someone great. Even if it seems the world slowly is forgetting him. Others probably can trust people naturally I suppose without Jesus. I say good because we need more trust in the world.

    I believe when Jesus enters a marriage nothing can break it. Whether it’s a man and a woman, a gay man and a woman or a gay woman and a man. It’s hard for a gay person to marry the opposite sex but life is full of problems but it also has good bits as well. Just an opinion that’s all.

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