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October 13th 2016 print

Patrick McCauley

Gay Marriage and Children

Strip away the posturing and verbiage and the whole debate eventually and irrevocably comes down to  children. If they are to be ‘commodified’ -- in effect, purchased for the cost of IVF treatments, surrogacy or adoption fees -- what does this say about their human rights?

eltons babyIt occurs to me that there is a fundamental gap in the same-sex marriage debate, which is seeing one question asked and another go unanswered. The question put is about ‘marriage equality’ and whether or not the law should allow same-sex couples the same ‘rights’ as heterosexuals. The question not being addressed is whether we as a society believe same-sex couples should be able, in effect, to manufacture children in order to overcome biology and begin families.

Many, if not most Australians seem to want gay couples to enjoy as much equality as they possibly can, and thus, probably, the majority really does wish to see same-sex marriage legitimized. That, at least, is what the opinion polls are telling us. However, when it becomes clear that this will ‘mainstream’ same-sex families with children, the clarity of the debate becomes cloudy and more than somewhat mute.

The gay lobby, of course, is both quick and correct to point out that same-sex couples already have the right to raise children, being able to foster, adopt, employ surrogacy and gain access to IVF. But that covers only part of the issue. The debate we should be having is about the rights of children to have access to their biological parents, and the status of their general rights  under adoptive homosexual parentage. Of this topic we hear very little indeed.

The irony here is that the same-sex lobby, as usual, has not been backward in coming forward. Its advocates have cited the children of gay couples to argue that public debate about changing the traditional definition of marriage will cause much distress by opening these kids to playground taunts and abuse. Bill Shorten, ever the advocate of hyperbole, has warned of a suicide epidemic if the matter were to be widely discussed and debated, rather than decided by our representatives and alleged betters on Capital Hill. Thus, the Labor Party, in its existential compassion, decided to vote down the plebiscite proposal.

Yet strip away the posturing and verbiage and the whole thing eventually and irrevocably comes down to  children. If they are to be ‘commodified’ — in effect, purchased for the cost of IVF treatments, surrogacy or adoption fees — what does this say about their human rights? More to the point, what does it say about the rights of children and our collective humanity? Gay-rights activists would counter that heterosexual couples already enjoy access to those same services, so declining to extend them would be unjust. Yet there is a difference, or so many would argue, in that children are the goal and natural product of heterosexuality while, for gay unions, they are an option that necessarily involves a third party for whom no right of access is being discussed. On top of that there is a broader question, applicable to both hetero and homosexual unions, of the ethics in endorsing what amounts to the trade and trafficking in human lives.

These are large and serious questions and they deserve to be debated and discussed. In fact, the issue of same-sex marriage cannot be fully understood or settled until these foundation issues have been addressed and, ideally, resolved.

Until then, the key question remains: ‘Should we as a society endorse the commercial manufacturing of  human beings? It is not being asked, but it should be.

Comments [34]

  1. Lacebug says:

    Patrick, as children can already be purchased for the cost of IVF treatments, surrogacy or adoption fees, by both heteros and homosexuals, as you correctly pointed out. And as you key question asks: ‘Should we as a society endorse the commercial manufacturing of human beings? (which pertains to both heteros and homosexuals) Why the need to evoke the question of gay marriage? How is it even relevant? I think you should head out to some of our more impoverished suburbs such as Mount Druitt and take a look how heterosexuals are bringing up children out there. I think that is WAY more of a concern than whether a child has two loving fathers or mothers.

  2. Ian Matthews says:

    As a product of two “mothers” I cannot recommend it.

  3. Homer Sapien says:

    Homosexuals talk a lot about “love”, shouldn’t it be rather “lust?”

    • Lacebug says:

      What an ignorant comment.

    • Mark Smith says:

      First and foremost homosexuality is a profoundly deep identity issue – though to some not an issue at all.

    • Ben says:

      Sodomy is an unnatural act. It is not sex. The word sex means opposites ie a man and a woman. The purpose of sex is procreative and involves our genitalia – that which generates.

      The shift in our culture has been so marked that we can no longer say in public that sodomy is a perversion of sex. Yet that is a truth. There is no purpose to sodomy. It does not generate new life. And to wrap it in marriage is madness.

      Sodomy goes against the dignity of man. If you loved someone you wouldn’t commit sodomy with them.

      • Rayvic says:

        Agreed.

        Yet, the marriage equality (a misnomer if ever there was one) lobby, in effect claims that the act of sodomy equates to the heterosexual marital act. How illogical(certainly unbiological), and unreasonable!

  4. Jimbob says:

    So what exactly is the point of being male and female?

    The gay activists would tell us that when all is said and done, there is absolutely no point at all – nature got this one wrong. Male and female is an example of blind, undirected nature evolving so that in this particular case, one particular species (humans) could survive and evolve but, of course, we can now take over from blind nature and “direct” our own evolution.

    I would venture to say that according to these new orthodoxies, eventually, reproduction will not need male and female gametes to form zygotes. I’m sure through genetic manipulation two male gametes may in due course form a zygote as may two female gametes. Who knows – maybe gametes will not be required at all! Now there is an interesting concept! A nature designed and directed by human intervention as a remedy to the failures of, well, nature…..!

    Sound familiar? I often wonder why most of the Nazi leadership were raging queens and why imitation leather lederhosen is the dress of preference at the Mardi Gras. The brave new world has truly arrived and it is happy and “gay” tra-la.

    • Lacebug says:

      Jimbob, there’s nothing new here, we humans design and direct nature each time we go to the hospital to have chemotherapy for cancer; a cancer that ‘nature’ would prefer killed us. I see nothing wrong whatsoever with designing and directing nature. As the character said in the 2001 film Bully: Nature sucks.

  5. Jody says:

    In advocating homosexuality as “the new normal”, childrens’ rights have been swept right away. Ironic isn’t it, from an activist sector so terribly concerned about the rights of everybody else. (And, by the way, childhood ends the day a boy or girl takes up a microphone to engage in homosexual marriage activism on behalf of his or her parents!)

    I’m always intrigued by the notion that the Mt. Druitt dysfunctional families are always trotted out as an example of how children are better off having two loving same sex parents than one of each sex. I would have thought that the gay lobby would have preferred to make a comparison with normal and happy families, but perhaps their reason for not doing so provides far more insight into their own thinking than would appear at first glance!!

    Dysfunctional or not, children know what a mother looks like and what a father looks like even in dysfunctional families. True, they may get bad messages from that modelling, but they have a choice. But I don’t think it’s an either/or argument. I’ve seen boys at school brought up by single mothers and they’ve gone on to develop ‘problems’ with women. They have resisted the matriarchy, wanting some sign of maleness in their lives. Quite a few of them actively bullied their mothers. I think we should delay our gushing until we find some longitudinal studies which show us exactly what are the impacts for the emotional, psychological and sexual development of children brought up with only one sex. Single-sex schools were considered to be less than ideal for a very long time; most state schools changed over to co-educational. There was a reason for this and I’d like to invoke that same reason in considering the rights of children in same sex unions.

    • Lacebug says:

      All I can say Jody,is that I’d rather be brought up by two stable loving gay men or women in Double Bay,than in a dysfunctional hetero family from Mt Druitt. And if you were being honest you’d admit you would too.

      • Jody says:

        You’ve chosen two extremes by way of comparison: same sex marriage in very loving environment versus total dysfunction. Most people live in the space between these two polarities. And, as I said, there are NO studies to show the impact upon the children of such arrangements. Let adults be free to do what they want – but I care about the children.

  6. Lacebug says:

    On the other hand,if given the choice between a happy functioning gay family,or a happy functioning hetero family, then yes, I would choose the latter because I agree with you that it provides a male and female role model that is probably beneficial to the development of the child. This is just a gut feeling. We really need to see some hard psch evidence to see the differences.

  7. Bill Martin says:

    How very ironic as well as hypocritical that the most rabid, tree-hugging champions of nature are also the most vehement advocates of gay culture and the accompanying notion of artificially bringing about conception in order to avoid heterosexual sex.

    “Manufacturing” children is an abominable concept, especially when it is to satisfy a “natural” yearning by resorting to unnatural means. That process is even questionable when utilised by heterosexual couples unable to conceive naturally, and downright criminal when it is simply for the avoidance of natural, heterosexual sex. The notion is in the same realm as wanting a puppy or a kitten to cater for an emotional whim.

  8. Bran Dee says:

    Why is no one referring to the example of the lesbians’ daughter Millie Fontana that featured in The Australian 10/10? Quoting from the article:
    “Ms fontana, who will stand with the ACL [Australian Christian Lobby] in Canberra this week to speak about the ‘other side of the rainbow’ and add her story to the discussion, is urging Labor to reconsider its likely opposition to the plebiscite”.
    “Ms Fontana, an atheist, grew up with two mothers but struggled with her identity and said the only time she felt stable as a child was when she was able to meet her biological father at age 11″.

    An interview with Millie is on the ACL website.

    • Jody says:

      Yes, there have been interviews and anecdotes like that in the media – my husband heard one recently on BBC World Service. But it is conveniently airbrushed because of the needs and wants of a very demanding social group.

      I’m not against homosexuality – not at all – don’t get that idea. But I don’t want ‘the new normal’ forced down my throat with a long-handled shovel and, coupled with human rights and anti-discrimination laws finding myself on the wrong side of history. It’s outrageous how the tail has been allowed to wag the dog, at the same time sapping much of the community’s goodwill towards homosexuals.

      I’ve just noticed Lacebug’s comments below about “consenting goats”. Perhaps the dividing line in all of this – and all those kinds of decisions – is morality after all.

  9. Lacebug says:

    I’d thought I was a conservative, but the more I get involved with Quadrant,the more I realise I am probably a libertarian. I simply don’t care if someone is gay, gay and married, gay with children, or has sex with consenting goats.

    • Jody says:

      This won’t cut it; especially since the article celebrates the overturning of state legislature by the US Supreme Court. Surely one of the most undemocratic actions of the last decade in that country.

      And unless there is a 50+ year study I’m not one bit interested in a biased study or reporting for that matter.

  10. By definition, without the use of technology to ‘manufacture’ babies, homosexuals of either gender are in reality genetic dead ends. On a personal basis I resent the ‘social engineering’ efforts being attempted by those who pander to this very vocal and aggressive minority, and I resent it even more if any of my hard earned money is taken from me against my will [to pay taxes]is used to fund any part of the ‘manufacturing’ of babies to further appease this lobby. I have 10 grandchildren who would/could make far better use of my taxes and they will contribute to society far more than any ‘manufactured’ child ever will.

    • Jody says:

      I think you are victim-blaming here. What child can help it if he/she was a test-tube baby or the product of surrogacy? And there’s no proof that such children won’t ‘contribute’ to society – I’m sure they will.

      The issue for me is one about the formulation of a healthy heterosexual identity, male and female role models, the ability negotiate with the opposite sex in the mating game and in the workplace. I grew up with 4 sisters and no brother and a rather remote father. I learned about male role models from my father’s closest friends, though later in his life I grew to know my own father better. It’s important to have both the male and the female perspective. Perhaps in the days before civilization was established men went away hunting and gathering and the women raised the children. This would have almost been a SS arrangement, but we cannot turn back the clock and deny the tremendous social and cultural pressure brought to bear on young people in our day and age.

  11. pgang says:

    “Strip away the posturing and verbiage and the whole debate eventually and irrevocably comes down to children.”

    Hmm. Maybe in the tiny little worldview of secular humanists.

  12. Salome says:

    In the whole history of Western society, there’s never been a better time to be non-heterosexual. And yet they keep demanding more, and setting themselves up as victims to make society feel guilty for not giving it to them.

    • Jody says:

      And they behave like this precisely because in the new world order being a minority of any kind is privileged. I had to laugh when Bernard Salt wrote in “The Australian” last weekend that ‘fortunately we now live in a much kinder society’. I would have said “neurotic”.

  13. Sodomy spreads 85% of AIDS. Don’t knock it – it keeps me supplied with patients.

  14. Keith Kennelly says:

    I’d say not neurotic nor kinder. Today’s society is just selfish and lead by a simply selfish elite who talk to each other about issues only of concern to them in a language only they understand.

  15. Keith Kennelly says:

    Here’s a radical thought. Scrap theMsrriage Act and let Common Law deal with the mess.

    Marriage has been foistered into us by the monotheists and the ideas of Agustine being made the dogma of the Catholic Church for newly 1500 years.

    It no longer works.

    This approach would sanctify a the rights of children.

    I’d ask the government to fund me 7.5 mil to promote this idea.

  16. Quadrant is a wonderful place. I can actually say sodomy. I can even tell a little bit of truth about it without being censored. I feel great compassion for sodomites and sincerely desire good for them in every possible way.

  17. ArthurB says:

    I am deeply suspicious about the sudden push for same sex marriage (or “marriage equality”, to use the Orwellian term favoured by its proponents). If I remember correctly, Labor voted against it a mere three years ago, yet now Bill Shorten and Labor are using emotional blackmail to try and impose it on our nation.

    The ABC, as usual, is taking a partisan approach. On a recent Q&A there were four guests (plus Tony Jones) in the pro camp, and one against.

    I do not feel that marriage, an ancient and universal human institution, should be redefined merely to satisfy the whims of a tiny section of society. However, what concerns me the most is same sex parenting.

    As an observer, I have noted that males raised in a fatherless family often have emotional problems. If the mother is a widow, I think that her sons accept the loss of their father, however when the parents have separated, for whatever reason, and the son or sons remain with their mother, who then acquires a new partner, there is the potential for trouble. If you are interested, you may like to read Theodore Dalrymple on fatherless underclass families.

    Out of interest, a week or so ago I googled “children of same sex parents”, and came up with the usual thousands of matches. Most of the newspaper sites say that the children of same sex parents suffer no ill effects, and in fact do better on some indices than children with heterosexual parents. I did notice one site which said that “the science is settled” (where have I seen that phrase before?). I would not trust sociologists to conduct an impartial survey on the matter, nor would I believe assertions from rainbow lobby groups. One site (www.whatweknow.law.columbia.edu) gave the results of a survey which quoted 74 studies showing no disadvantage, and a mere four against (which reminds me of the oft-quoted statement that 97% of scientists believe in anthropogenic global warming).

    There are, however, some sites which demur from the party line. One is http://www.thefederalist.com, which quotes statements from adults who were raised with same sex parents, they say that while they may love their mothers, they still wanted a father in their life. An Australian site, http://www.australianmarriage.org, is worth reading, it quotes the refusal of commercial printers to produce David van Gend’s book which opposes same sex marriage.

    From what I have observed, the advocates of same sex marriage will not tolerate any opposition. I fear that if Labor manages to win the next (or a subsequent) Federal election, SSM will be introduced without delay, as having more priority than trivial matters such as budget deficits etc.