Gays are not second-class citizens but a gay man certainly makes a second-class mother. Two lesbian women may be model citizens, but neither of them can be a Dad to a little boy. The most serious objection to gay marriage is that it means gay parenting, and gay parenting means depriving a child of either his mother or his father. The gay marriage debate, at its heart, is not about the rights and needs of the adults, but of the child.
There are already tragic situations where a child is deprived of a mother or a father – such as the death or desertion of a parent. Some broken families reform as a homosexual household, and nothing can or should be done about that. But such tragedy and brokenness should not be wilfully inflicted on a child by the law of the land.
A child needs at least the chance of a Mum and a Dad in her life, and same-sex marriage makes that impossible. This violation of the fundamental right and profound emotional need of a child means – from the child’s perspective – that gay marriage is deprivation, not liberation.
Marriage is a compound right and includes the legal right to obtain children by adoption or surrogacy. The normalising of same-sex marriage means that gay couples will have equal standing with male-female couples for adopting children. The “marriage” of two women would deprive an adopted boy of his role model for being a man, and the “marriage” of two men would deprive a growing girl of a mother to learn from and confide in.
The sentimental claptrap that passes for debate on gay marriage would have disgusted even that old atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell. Sentimental people speak of marriage as a right to a romantic ceremony, a right to have one’s deep personal commitments confirmed by society. Although Russell’s four marriages did not exactly make him an expert on the topic, he did have at least one good insight. He understood that society has no interest in passing laws about people’s private affairs – whether gay or straight - and that the primary reason for the public contract of marriage throughout history has been to bind the man to the woman for the long task of rearing their children. As he wrote in Marriage and Morals, “It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution.”
Homosexual relations do not give rise to children, so such relations are of no institutional importance to society.
The biological triple-bond of man and woman and child is nature’s foundation for human life – as with other mammals – not a social fad to be cut to shape according to political whim. It is beyond the power of any parliament to repeal nature and equate same-sex relationships with the inherently male-female project of family formation.
Yet inner-city Greens and muddled MPs are so out of touch with nature that they think abolishing a mother will be of no consequence to the emotional development of the human cub.
They are wrong, and any such legislation would be moral vandalism. They are also going against common sense, with 86 percent of Australians affirming that ideally children should be raised by their own mother and father, according to a 2009 Galaxy poll. Opposition to gay marriage is all about the child, and no parliament has the right to impose a motherless life on a little child.
Dr David van Gend is a Toowoomba doctor and a committee member of the Family Council of Queensland, Australia. This article was first published in the Brisbane Courier Mail on November 16.