May 8th 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Trade deal - surrendered sovereignty

EDITORIAL: Competition policy destroys retail liquor competition

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Will new NCP inquiry be a whitewash?

COMMENT: Economic zealotry triumphs over commonsense

EMBRYOS: Cloning - a licence to kill

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Fallout from hospital strikes / Lots of help for MPs

ENVIRONMENT: PM at odds with Murray River report

HEALTH: Sexual reassignment at age 13!

Expert advice? (letter)

Dairy industry (letter)

Latham and Asia (letter)

DEVELOPING WORLD: Grameen Bank - banking on the poor

EAST ASIA: Why Japan is building a ballistic missile defence

BIOFUELS: Sugar industry forum on ethanol

COMMENT: Iraq is not Vietnam

HUMAN RIGHTS: Vietnam's sex trade shame

FAMILY: Why John Howard is right on marriage

ASIA: Why Taiwan should be in WHO

BOOKS: LEFT ILLUSIONS: An Intellectual Odyssey, by David Horowitz

BOOKS: The Coming Of The Third Reich, By Richard J. Evans

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Why John Howard is right on marriage

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, May 8, 2004
Verbal engineering, it has been said, usually precedes social engineering. Soften up a people to new definitions of commonly accepted values, and soon they will be softened up to major changes in law and social custom.

It is in this context that we are to understand the move by the Prime Minster to strengthen our marriage laws. He is hoping to prevent transsexual, same-sex, and other sorts of marriage. He also wants to ensure that a man and a woman are not redefined by the courts.


Right now the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 defines marriage as "the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life".

That sounds pretty clear. Unfortunately, activist judges are doing their best to tell us it is not. Recent court decisions have sought to change the commonly accepted understanding of these terms, and have tried to change our understanding of what the institutions of marriage and family are all about. Thus it is necessary to clarify what marriage actually means.

Some have labelled the move by the PM as "radical". But there is nothing radical about reaffirming what most cultures throughout human history have always affirmed, namely that marriage is about the union of a man and a woman, not two men or two women, not three men, not a woman and her daughter, not a football team, and so on. One man and one woman, full stop. That is not radical. That is the accumulated wisdom of nearly every human society throughout recorded history.

What is radical is the push by the homosexual lobby to redefine the notion of marriage altogether. This is truly radical and revolutionary, and has never been done before in human history, and has only been mooted in the last few decades.

The truth is, the homosexual lobby knows that it will be quite difficult to sway the majority of Australians to fully embrace its radical agenda. They know that parliaments will be loath to engage in such unique social experimentation. Thus they have pinned their hopes on activist judges.

They know that if court decisions can circumvent the will of the majority, or bypass parliament altogether, they can get what they want with barely a fight. They have been very successful so far in doing just that.

Consider but several of the radical decisions made by our reformist judges in recent years.

  • In July 2000 the High Court ruled that Victoria's IVF and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) legislation was discriminatory because it restricted the taxpayer-funded services to married and de facto couples. The court said the Victorian legislation violated the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and ruled that lesbians and singles should have access to IVF and ART services.

  • In October 2001 Justice Chisholm of the Family Court ruled that, in effect, two women could marry. A woman who decided to become a man, and renamed herself Kevin, had taken up a relationship with another woman, Jennifer, and began steps to marry in 1999. The judge ruled that "man" could mean a variety of things, and not just be related to the constraints of biology. Psychological and social considerations, in other words, could also be considered when we redefine "male" and "female".

  • In December 2003 Family Court Justice Sally Brown ruled that it was in the best interests of a child that it be raised, not by a mother and a father, but by two male homosexuals.

  • Just this month Chief Justice Alistair Nicholson of the Family Court declared that a 13-year-old girl could undergo a sex change procedure because she felt that she was really a boy.

  • And in New Zealand this month, an Auckland Family Court ruled that a toddler could have three parents: the lesbian mum, her female partner, and the Sydney male sperm-donor.

Judicial advocacy

Other examples could be produced. The facts seem clear. A number of judges are acting as advocates, and are promoting trendy social causes that much of the Australian community would be uncomfortable with. They seek to bypass the democratic process, and implement radical social reform without the electorate able to decide for itself whether it wants these changes.

But the collective wisdom of millennia will not be overturned so easily. Most people know intuitively that marriage is about the union of one man and one woman, and they recognise that marriage is the best guarantee we have of successful families, and that strong families make for strong societies.

  • Bill Muehlenberg

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