March 17th 2012

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Two Melbourne academics want infanticide legalised

QUEENSLAND: Election outcome could derail same-sex marriage push

MEDIA: Journalists scandalised by family lobby's tactics

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Abbott's pre-election commitments come under scrutiny

EDITORIAL: Bob Carr's appointment will destabilise Labor

MEDIA INQUIRY: Finkelstein's Monster: a media horror story

POLITICS: Is GetUp! a democratic organisation?

POLITICS: Daniel Hannan: future prime minister of Britain?

IRAN: Iranian opposition pleas unheeded by Obama

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: The case against floating exchange rates

PARENTING: Caring for terminally-ill unborn babies

SCHOOLS: Gonski report penalises non-government schools

OPINION: Russia and the West reverse roles on Christianity


CINEMA: Marilyn's mystique mesmerises still: My Week with Marilyn (rated M)

BOOK REVIEW From Vinegar Hill to the mountains of Afghanistan

BOOK REVIEW Excommunicable heresies

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Election outcome could derail same-sex marriage push

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, March 17, 2012

The Queensland election outcome could derail the Greens’ push for same-sex marriage, the Australian Family Association has predicted.

AFA spokesman Mr Luke McCormack said that Queensland’s controversial civil unions law was intended to fast-track same-sex marriage nationally but could have the opposite effect.

“Voters at the March 24 poll will have the option of voting for repeal of civil unions, a watered-down version of marriage rushed through Queensland parliament late last year,” said Mr McCormack.

“The major parties offer a stark choice. Anna Bligh’s Labor Party and the Greens strongly support civil unions, which give marriage-like status to same-sex relationships.

“On the other hand, the Liberal National Party, Katter’s Australian Party and Family First have policies to repeal civil unions,” said Mr McCormack.

“Mr Newman confirmed his commitment to repeal earlier this month, subject to ensuring that no one is left in ‘legal limbo’. This can be achieved by ensuring the repeal legislation is not retrospective,” he said.

Mr McCormack said family groups opposed alternatives to marriage because they tended to weaken children’s rights to know and be raised by their mum and dad.

“If marriage is re-defined to include same-gender or even group relationships, it ceases to be about children’s best interests. I thought we learned about the importance of children’s right to their parents from the grief experienced by the stolen generations. Apparently history repeats itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee has commenced an inquiry into Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

If carried by federal parliament, it will repeal the present definition of marriage, which defines it as the union between one man and one woman voluntarily entered into for life, and replace it with the following weird formulation: “the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

Senator Hanson-Young has made clear that the purpose of her amendment is to permit homosexuals to marry, so the inclusion of the words, “to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”, is a sop to the existing law which, in other respects, is to be transformed in its meaning.

It would also repeal the provisions of the 2004 Marriage Amendment Act, which refused to legalise same-sex marriages entered into abroad.

The Senate committee which is to inquiry into Senator Hanson-Young’s bill comprises six people: Labor Senator Trish Crossin (chair), Liberal Senator Gary Humphreys (deputy chair), Labor Senator Louise Pratt, Labor Senator Mark Furner, Liberal Senator Sue Boyce, and the Greens’ Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Three of the six members of the committee — Senators Crossin, Pratt and Hanson-Young — have repeatedly declared that they support same-sex marriage, and, since the committee’s chair Senator Crossin has both a deliberative and a casting vote, there is no doubt about the committee’s final recommendation.

However, it is very important that Australians convey their views to the Senate committee, both to strengthen its members who support the existing law, and to convey to the House of Representatives that there is a strong body of opinion in Australia which supports the present law, and opposes social engineering disguised as anti-discrimination legislation.

If carried, the Hanson-Young bill will transform marriage in ways that disregard the rights of children and society’s interest in marriage as the cornerstone of stable families.

Marriage itself will be replaced by a genderless construct that, according to Princeton Professor Robert George, “takes away the legal recognition of marriage — a comprehensive union of persons ordered to having and rearing a family… — and offers in its place legal recognition of a form of domestic partnership for romantic-sexual partners (in pairs for now, but that will not hold), be they same-sex or opposite-sex” (National Review, June 28, 2011).

Also, it will redefine every Australian’s marriage, as the definition in law applies to all Australians. The immediate effect will be to sever the intrinsic connection between marriage and children implicit in what the 17th-century political thinker John Locke describes as the “Conjugal Society” that pre-dates the state.

In addition to the Hanson-Young bill, there are currently two other bills before the House of Representatives to introduce same-sex marriage.

One is Labor MP Stephen Jones’ private member’s bill — that is, a bill not officially sponsored by the Labor Party, but which has its tacit support. This bill is expected to get priority in the House of Representatives.

The other has been moved by the Greens Party’s Adam Bandt and independent Andrew Wilkie.

If the Queensland election goes strongly against Labor, it will give the Gillard Government reason to pause instead of facilitating same-sex marriage legislation.

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