NATIONAL AFFAIRS: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Senate committee recommends against same-sex marriage
, December 12, 2009
A bill which would permit same-sex marriage should not be carried, a Senate committee has recommended.
The bill was introduced in the Senate last June by South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, and referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for consideration.
With 86 per cent of Australians saying children should be raised by their biological parents, the Australian Family Association welcomed the Senate committee's recommendation.
AFA spokesman John Morrissey said that the push for same-sex marriage is aimed at widening gay access to children, but nobody has the right to a child any more than a man has a right to a woman.
"A new Galaxy poll shows Australians believe that marriage and children go together and that Australians don't want another stolen generation of children growing up without one or both of their biological parents," Mr Morrissey said.
The Galaxy poll, conducted in November for the Australian Family Association, asked 1,053 Australians: "Ideally, wherever possible, should children be raised by their biological mother and their biological father?" 86 per cent of respondents said yes, including 81 per cent of 18-24 year-olds.
Mr Morrissey commented: "This should be a wake-up call for the Federal Parliament, particularly Kevin Rudd's Labor Party, as the strongest support for children's rights (90 per cent) came from lower-income families, which form Labor's heartland.
"Yet, at its 2009 national conference, the Labor Party changed its policy on marriage. Labor no longer defines marriage as between a man and a woman only. This leaves the way open for legalising same-sex marriage and even polygamy.
"At the moment, policy-makers are focussed on the politically-correct message that all relationships are equal, regardless of whether a couple are married or in a de-facto or same-sex relationship.
"What this poll shows is that, when it comes to children's rights, all relationships are not
equal. The overwhelming majority of Australians think that children should be raised by their own mum and dad. Marriage between a man and a woman is the best way to ensure children have the security of knowing and being raised by their biological parents."
Recently, Prime Minister Rudd and then Coalition leader Malcolm Turnbull apologised to the many children - the generation of so-called forgotten Australians - who were denied knowledge of their parents and families after World War II. Mr Rudd has now pledged to help them find their biological parents.
"Yet we now have the push for same-sex marriage, which will contribute to yet another ‘stolen generation' of children who will be denied the right to be raised by both their biological mother and father," says Mr Morrissey. "Are our politicians so blind?"
While a clear majority of Australians reject same-sex marriage, a majority of the ALP-dominated Senate committee did support recommendations which will keep the door open to the campaign for same-sex marriage.
The committee recommended that the Government review relationship recognition arrangements with the aim of developing a nationally consistent framework to provide official recognition for same-sex couples and equal rights under federal and state laws.
It also recommended that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issue Certificates of Non-Impediment to couples of the same sex on the same basis as they are issued for couples of different sexes.
As Senator Guy Barnett (Liberal, Tasmania), the deputy chairman of the Senate committee, pointed out, both recommendations would undercut the existing Marriage Act.
Senator Barnett said these recommendations "give succour to those groups within the community that seek to erode and re-define the institution of marriage". He also said that the committee's argument, purportedly in favour of the existing Marriage Act, was inadequate.
He said the majority recommendation against legalising same-sex marriage "is supported in the conclusion's chapter by a single sentence which reads that ‘the committee considers that the current definition is a clear and well-recognised legal term which should be preserved'."The future
Senator Barnett added: "In relying on this argument as the sole reason for not supporting the bill, the majority have ignored the bulk of the strong arguments put by the very large number of submitters and witnesses at the public hearing. In putting up such a half-hearted argument, the majority are essentially setting it up to be dismissed, thus leaving the way open to same-sex marriage in the future.
"In so doing, the majority have chosen to ignore the very persuasive evidence presented that the only credible reason for the state to formally recognise what is essentially a private relationship between two individuals by privileging marriage is because marriage between a man and a woman has particular benefits to society that warrant recognition and protection. ...
"The majority have also apparently chosen to ignore the evidence put to the committee that the best outcomes for children are where there is a positive male and female role-model guiding their development towards adulthood.
"As was put to the committee in literally thousands of submissions, children need a Mum and a Dad. Every child should have a reasonable expectation, all things being equal, of a mother and a father."