Senate Enquiry: AMF defends the rights of the child

Seen in Melbourne today at the Senate Committee enquiry into the Green's homosexual marriage Bill (Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010: Dr David van Gend, AMF President (left); Jim Wallace AM, ACL Managing Director, and Dr Lachlan Dunjey, convenor of Doctors for the Family. A range of contributors: lawyers, ethicists, gay groups, one former homosexual man now a father of three, the indefatigable champion of the family Bill Muehlenberg, and sundry other including the above.

Initial coverage at MSN and the Herald Sun was fair and to the point, even if AMF was lumped in with the ACL (with whom we presented): "Christians fear 'motherless' children". Well, we don't really fear them (unless they are bigger than us) but we fear for them if Parliament normalises marriage without a woman - because that normalises family without a mother. This law will herald a new gay stolen generation of children forced to enter the world without any possibility of the love of a Mum. That is an assault on the deepest emotional needs of a child. It must not happen.

This was the opening statement to the Senators by Dr David van Gend:

Thank you, Madam Chair. I am a family doctor and I appear on behalf of the Australian Marriage Forum.

Our submission outlines the harms of homosexual marriage, affirms the biological and social truth about marriage, and challenges this Bill’s assumptions about homosexuality.

The greatest harm of homosexual marriage is that it means homosexual parenting, and homosexual parenting means that a child MUST miss out on either a mother or a father.

Marriage is a compound right under international law – not only the right to an exclusive relationship, but the right “to found a family”. Therefore same-sex marriage carries the right to form a family – but any child created within that marriage, by artificial reproduction, will have no possibility of being raised by both her mother and her father.
There are already tragic situations where a child cannot have both a Mum & a Dad – such as the death or desertion of a parent – but that is not a situation we would ever wish upon a child, and that is not a situation that any Government should inflict upon a child. Yet legalising same-sex marriage WILL inflict that deprivation on a child. That is why this Bill is wrong and must be opposed.

Other harms of homosexual marriage include the momentous legal consequence of normalising homosexual behaviour for school children with the full force of anti-discrimination law, and the consequent loss of parental control over the moral education of their children. We have seen this in Massachusetts.

Our submission also examines the suppression of religious conscience and free speech that will prevail once “gay marriage” is normalised.

Finally, we point to the inevitable expansion of “marriage equality” to include group marriage or consensual incest, once the objective meaning of male-female marriage-and-family has been degraded to a mere sexual relationship between “committed” adults.

Marriage is beyond the authority of any Parliament to tamper with. It is not a political or social invention, but a social recognition of a pre-existing biological reality: male, female, child. The father of modern anthropology, Claude Levi-Strauss, called marriage “a social institution with a biological foundation”. He notes that throughout recorded history the human family is “based on a union, more or less durable, but socially approved, of two individuals of opposite sexes who establish a household and bear and raise children.” All our marriage ceremonies and laws exist to buttress the natural order – helping bind a man to his mate for the sake of social stability and for the sake of the child they might create.

Self-evidently, homosexual relationships cannot create children. Such relationships are of great importance to the individuals involved, and demand neighbourly civility – but they do not meet nature’s job description for “marriage”. Nevertheless, homosexuality is not an inborn or unchangeable condition, and some gay people are able to maximise their heterosexual potential to the point where they can marry according to the order of nature, with children of their own.

Political justice has already been done: since the federal legislation of 2008, homosexual couples enjoy effective equality in every way short of marriage. The process must stop short of marriage, because marriage is about something much deeper than civil equality; it is about a natural reality which society did not create and which only a misguided piece of legislation, like the Bill before us, would seek to destroy.

Thank you.

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