A bigot is someone who refuses to see the other point of view. Articles by Peter van Onselen and James Valentine in The Weekend Australian (20/8/11) smeared opponents of gay marriage as bigots, yet both men refuse to see the other point of view -- and that means the point of view of the child.
"Marriage is fundamentally about the needs of children", writes David Blankenhorn, a supporter of gay rights in the US who nevertheless draws the line at same-sex marriage. "Redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples would eliminate entirely in law, and weaken still further in culture, the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child."
Here is the heart of opposition to same-sex marriage: that it means same-sex parenting, and same-sex parenting means that a child must miss out on either a mother or a father.
Marriage is a compound right under Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it is not only the right to an exclusive relationship, but the right to form a family. Therefore gay marriage includes the right to form a family by artificial reproduction but any child created within that marriage would have no possibility of being raised by both mother and father.
Obviously there are tragic situations where a child cannot have both a mum and 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 it is wrong, and that is why all laws are wrong that permit single people or same-sex couples to obtain a child by IVF, surrogacy, or adoption.
Take Penny Wong, for example, as van Onselen did. She is an effective politician, but she can never be a dad to a little boy. She and her partner tell us they have created a baby who will have no father, only a mother and another woman. Their assertion is that a dad does not matter to a child.
As ethicist Margaret Somerville wrote in these pages, such assertions "force us to choose between giving priority to children's rights or to homosexual adults' claims." Yet trivial arguments frame the gay marriage debate solely in terms of the emotional needs of adults, ignoring the child's point of view.
Such adult-centred narcissism raises the wider question: if gender no longer matters in marriage, why should number? If marriage is all about adults who love each other, by what rational principle should three adults who love each other not be allowed to marry? Academic defenders of polyamory are asking that question, and no doubt van Onselen will soon be slurring opponents of polyamory as binary bigots.
While warm, fuzzy writers such as Valentine can imagine no possible harm to society from gay marriage, the serious minds behind the movement occasionally let us glimpse their wider purpose. US activist Michelangelo Signorile urges gays "to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely." He sees same-sex marriage as "the final tool with which to get education about homosexuality and AIDS into public schools."
Sure enough, we now have empirical evidence that normalising gay marriage means normalising homosexual behaviour for public school children.
Following the November 2003 court decision in Massachusetts to legalise gay marriage, school libraries were required to stock same-sex literature; primary school children were given homosexual fairy stories such as King & King; some high school students were even given an explicit manual of homosexual advocacy entitled The Little Black Book: Queer in the 21st Century, which the Massachusetts Department of Health helped develop. Education had to comply with the new normal.
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