March 12th 2005

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The media elites versus the public

CANBERRA OBSERVED: American-style workplace relations for Australia?

SCHOOLS: Teacher training at the mercy of politics

HUMAN CLONING: UN victory's implications for Australia

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Gallop Labor Government returned to power

EDITORIAL: Debt tsunami moves closer

AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY: The economy that will confront the next generation

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Reserve Bank governor defends his record

ENERGY: Ethanol - Australia being left behind

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Visas for sale / Kyoto hot air convention / Europe, China and the US-Japan alliance / Edge of the abyss

ASIA: Japan, India and China - new strategic alliance?

VIETNAM: Hanoi's abysmal human rights record

A response to Babette Francis (letter)

Turkish massacre of the Armenians (letter)

Putin - can a leopard change his spots? (letter)

Abortion's hidden wounds (letter)

BOOKS: MICHAEL MOORE is a Big Fat Stupid White Man

BOOKS: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Putting Every Household at Risk

Books promotion page

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Putting Every Household at Risk

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, March 12, 2005
Committing social suicide

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Putting Every Household at Risk
By Mathew D. Staver

Broadman & Holman. Paperback RRP: $20.00

The debate about same-sex marriage, notes Staver, is really a debate about marriage itself. The debate seeks to overturn millennia of accumulated wisdom on the nature of marriage. In so doing, it may overturn the very fabric of society which has been built on marriage and family.

Marriage is not simply a private relationship. It is a social good and a public institution. Societies have always given benefits to marriage because marriage gives benefits to society. For a society to disown its own birthright, in upholding heterosexual marriage, is in effect to say that it does not care about the community, it does not care about couples, and it especially does not care about children.

Staver here simply repeats the obvious: marriage has always been about a man and a woman, and has always been about the possibility of procreation.

Societies have a lot at stake when it comes to the next generation. In order to survive, societies must ensure that each new generation carries forth its values, it virtues and its visions. No one can better ensure this than a child's mother and father.

But in separating children from a mother and a father, societies are committing social suicide. The truth is, children need a mother and a father, full stop. The evidence is by now as overwhelming as it is familiar. Yet restating the obvious has become the order of the day, and Staver does a good job of marshalling the evidence.

The values of two-parent families, the risks of the homosexual lifestyle, the differences between heterosexual and homosexual relationships are all detailed here.

Evidence, not emotion, should channel this debate, and Staver provides copiously footnoted documentation on all these points.

He has detailed chapters, for example, on why sexual preference is not a civil right. And he shows how sexuality-based lifestyles are not on a par with the immutable characteristics of race, colour, or national origin.

While governments are obliged to show respect to all people, they are not obliged to recognise and sanction any and every behaviour and lifestyle choice.

He also highlights the dangers of granted special rights based on sexual preference. He notes that vilification legislation and hate-crime laws are increasingly including sexual orientation in the list of protected characteristics.

This puts many groups at risk, especially religious bodies which should have the right to speak out on behaviours they regard as unwelcome.

In the US, the judiciary is in many cases penalising and punishing those who simply wish to stand up for family and faith values. Churches and families are being forced to embrace a lifestyle that is at odds with their cherished beliefs.

Staver rightly notes that this debate is the flash-point of the culture wars. And the stakes are high. As the saying goes, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Many homosexual activists have been clear as to why they want marriage and adoption rights. As one lesbian put it, "Whoever captures the kids owns the future".

This battle is about competing visions of the future, of society, of family and of gender. The consequences are thus pronounced indeed. Do we as a society put the wants of adults ahead of our children and the greater community? The truth is, there are many good reasons for societies to prefer heterosexual marriage.

Staver closes by offering some ways forward. A Constitutional Amendment in the US to guarantee marriage as between a man and a woman is one of the proposals. Other possibilities are canvassed. But as Staver notes, this is too important an issue to not get involved, or to put up the white flag.

We owe it to our children to take a stand for marriage, and this book provides us with information to do just that.

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