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Saying sorry means not doing it again

By David van Gend - posted Monday, 23 March 2015

The second anniversary of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions, March 21st, should not have gone unnoticed. It was a noble moment in 2013 when our then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, spoke movingly about "the most primal and sacred bond there is: the bond between a mother and her baby". Our then Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, affirmed "there is no stronger bond than that between mother and child".

Our leaders apologised for a policy that had broken that primal bond and caused ongoing grief to mothers and children.

This week, our leaders are being asked to contemplate a new policy that would, once again, break "the primal and sacred bond between a mother and her baby". Will we never learn?


If our Senate votes on Thursday to institute 'marriage' without a woman, they are voting to institute families without a mother. By a coldly calculated decision of government, a mother's presence will be abolished from the lives of any future children created with the institution of two-man 'marriage'.

As lawmakers, they know that marriage is a compound right encompassing the dual "right to marry and to found a family" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16). Therefore any law allowing two men to marry is a law guaranteeing adoption and surrogacy by two men – which certain states in Australia do not allow. Such a law would be state-sanctioned violation of "the most primal and sacred bond there is: the bond between a mother and her baby".

Of course, some children already miss out on a mother through death or separation, and single parents often do a great job - but that is a loss nobody would wish on a child. No government should ever impose that loss on a child - and yet Senator David Leyonhjelm's Freedom to Marry Bill 2014 asks our political leaders to do just that.

Just as our leaders stopped to listen to the parents and children who experienced forced adoption, so they must stop and listen to parents and children who experienced gay 'parenting'. Their voices have been loud in recent days.

Gay man Doug Mainwaring wrote last week that redefining marriage "might once again invite epic disaster for children, whosestories will emerge only as they become adults."

Those adult stories are now emerging.


Heather Barwick, raised in a same-sex household, made international headlines when she wrote last week, "Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn't matter. That it's all the same. But it's not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting."

Greater international headlines were made when gay fashion icons Dolce and Gabbana said, "We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one." Dolce added that "You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that's how it should be."

In support of their comments, six adult offspring of gay households, including Barwick, wrote in an open letter last week "Every human being has a mother and a father, and to cut either from a child's life is to rob the child of dignity, humanity, and equality," the letter reads.

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About the Author

Dr David van Gend is a Toowoomba GP and Queensland secretary for the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life.

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