March 19th 2011

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Taxpayers to help subsidise UN's $100 billion climate fund

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Greens give marching orders to Julia Gillard

NEW ZEALAND: Questions about Christchurch earthquake

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Elton John and the new stolen generation

DRUGS: Latest push to promote needle/syringe programs

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Mondragón worker co-ops ride out global slump

UNITED STATES: How the recession has hurt working-class men

MIDDLE EAST I: Misunderstanding the events rocking the Middle East

MIDDLE EAST II: Are Western diplomats up to the job?

RUSSIA: Gorbachev slams 'rich and debauched' elite

UNITED KINGDOM: British High Court's assault on Christianity

EUTHANASIA: What must patients do to avoid being killed?

OBITUARY: Abortionist who became pro-life crusader: Bernard Nathanson (1926-2011)

OPINION: Politicisation of our public service

Howard left federal Budget in surplus (letter)

National investment fund (letter)

Bob Brown's machinations (letter)

BOOK REVIEW: COURTING DISASTER: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack, by Marc A. Thiessen

BOOK REVIEW: THE STORY OF ENGLISH: How the English Language Conquered the World, by Philip Gooden

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Elton John and the new stolen generation

by David van Gend

News Weekly, March 19, 2011
Sir Elton John is having his needs met. The 63-year-old says, "I want to have someone that I can love and care for until I get old", so he and his partner David Furnish have obtained a baby of their own.
Sir Elton John,
his partner David Furnish
and baby Zachary.

The two men say they "don't have a clue" which one of them is the biological father of their surrogate baby. And the baby will never have a clue about his biological mother because the egg fertilised by the celebrity sperm was from an anonymous donor. Zachary Furnish-John has been brought into the world with no possibility, ever, of knowing who his mother is. He will meet the "gestational carrier" who gave him flesh and gave him birth, but she is unrelated to him.

This baby boy will never hear his own mother's voice, never be comforted by the unique love between mother and son, because two men have decided that a mum doesn't matter.

In The Australian (January 15), Kate Legge introduces us to other men who are having their needs met. Allan and Mark's baby girl, Rani, was conceived using an anonymous egg from India and gestated by an Indian rent-a-womb. Legge reports that Allan and Mark chose anonymity about Rani's maternal origins "to limit problems and confusion for their daughter". Read that again slowly: they have hidden from this little girl any possible knowledge of her own mother; they have left her with an emotional emptiness that will not be filled, all to "limit problems and confusion for their daughter".

Here is the heart and soul of opposition to same-sex marriage: that same-sex marriage means same-sex parenting, and same-sex parenting makes it impossible for children to have both a mother and a father in their life. Same-sex marriage heralds a new stolen generation of Elton's children forcibly deprived of a mother. This time round the offence against the child is justified as necessary for meeting the needs of homosexual adults.

"Marriage is fundamentally about the needs of children", writes David Blankenhorn, speaking for those of us who oppose the new stolen generation. He is a high-profile supporter of gay rights in the US who nevertheless draws the line at gay marriage. "Redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples would eliminate entirely in law, and weaken still further in culture, the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child."

Australian human rights lawyer Frank Brennan likewise makes the child-centred case against gay marriage: "I think we can ensure non-discrimination against same-sex couples while at the same time maintaining a commitment to children of future generations being born of and being reared by a father and a mother." Non-discrimination against same-sex couples is exactly what federal parliament achieved in 2008 when over 80 pieces of legislation were amended by a bipartisan majority.

It is one thing, however, to repeal discrimination on pragmatic matters like superannuation and next-of-kin status, and an entirely different proposition to repeal mammalian biology and its foundational expression in human society.

Allan and Mark support a repeal of biology: "People have to change their thinking. Marriage and parenting is less about gender and more about a couple's commitment to the complex needs of each other and their children." One might question their commitment to baby Rani's complex need to know and love her own mother, and one can only view with astonishment their claim that marriage is not about gender. Marriage is entirely about gender, because in nature the sexual instinct and survival of the species is entirely about gender.

Marriage is not a social fad to be cut to shape according to the political whim of the Greens and the gays. Marriage is a social reinforcement of a timeless biological reality. The triple-bond of male and female and offspring is nature's way for human life - as with other mammals - and it is beyond the power of any parliament to repeal nature and equate same-sex friendships with the inherently male-female project of family formation.

Certainly, some married couples will not have children, just as some trees in an orchard will not bear fruit - but the cultural purpose of the institution, as with the orchard, is clear.

The task in the current public debate is to defend natural marriage and family from the narcissism of "marriage equality", which would equate homosexual couples with mothers and fathers and thereby gut marriage of its objective meaning and its honoured purpose.

Anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss describes natural marriage as "a social institution with a biological foundation". He notes that throughout recorded history the human family is "based on a union, more or less durable, but socially approved, of two individuals of opposite sexes who establish a household and bear and raise children".

How anthropologically inadequate, then, are today's assertions that marriage is all about "love and commitment" between any two adults, unrelated to mammalian biology and raising young. Even the libertarian philosopher Bertrand Russell acknowledged: "It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognisance of by a legal institution."

Homosexual relations do not give rise to children, so such relations are of no institutional importance to society - they are a significant private relationship to be treated with neighbourly respect by all, but they do not fit nature's job description for "marriage".

Laws have unintended consequences. As Blankenhorn warns: "Once this proposed reform became law, even to say the words out loud in public - 'Every child needs a father and a mother' - would probably be viewed as explicitly divisive and discriminatory, possibly even as hate speech."

It must be said out loud. At stake in the debate on gay marriage is the fundamental birthright of a child - that on first opening his eyes in this world he should see the faces of those two people, his own mother and father, who together gave him life, not the faces of a false mother, an ageing rock star and his homosexual lover.

David van Gend is a Toowoomba GP, a member of the Australian Family Association and a committee member of the Family Council of Queensland.

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