OPINION: by David van GendNews Weekly
Let the people decide on gay 'marriage'
, November 23, 2013
Nine ACT politicians voted on October 22 to legalise homosexual marriage on behalf of all Australians. The nine were a predictable Labor-Greens alliance and were opposed by eight Liberals. And the following week the Labor-Greens government in Tasmania tried and failed to revive its recently rejected bill for same-sex marriage.
A political party is in terminal decline when common sense amongst its leaders is no longer common. Throughout recorded history, common sense has understood that marriage is not just about adults — it’s about the needs and rights of children, too.
Not so with new Labor, whose leaders have succumbed to the adult-only narcissism of “marriage equality”. Union leader Paul Howes told the Labor Party last month “you do not belong with us” if you oppose the “fair go” of letting two men marry; but nowhere in his speech was there any consideration of a fair go for children created within such a marriage, forced to live without a mother.
To be out of touch with nature is no problem for a progressive politician; to be out of touch with swing voters is more serious. After the September federal election, the demographer and former Labor senator, John Black, wrote, “Rudd’s outspoken advocacy of gay marriage cost him votes where it mattered most”, including “working class evangelicals”. Black had noted in 2007 that this group was “the strongest correlate of the swing to Kevin Rudd’s new Labor Party”.
On ABC television’s Q&A program just before the election, Mr Rudd formally jilted this loyal swing group, skewering a pastor who defended the common sense Christian position on marriage. The churches do not expect political leaders to be the suppository (to use Mr Abbott’s memorable malapropism) of all theological wisdom; but with friends like Kevin Rudd, they might well ask, who needs enemas?
Mr Rudd’s predecessor, John Howard, has a wiser view of the threat gay marriage poses to our culture, telling graduates at Sydney’s Campion College in 2011, “Changing the definition of marriage, which has lasted from time immemorial, is not an exercise in human rights and equality; it is an exercise in de-authorising the Judeo-Christian influence in our society.”
In the broad campaign against Christian influence the normalising of homosexual marriage is a means to greater ends: namely, the normalising of homosexual behaviour in law and culture, especially in the school curriculum (as we have observed overseas) and the silencing of conscientious critics with the full weight of anti-discrimination law. Only then will the churches be cowed and the gay sexual revolution complete.
Every revolution needs its useful idiots, in Lenin’s phrase, who serve its purposes as if it were a benign cause. Kevin Rudd is one, serving the Ministry of Misinformation with his statement on Q&A: “They are born gay… and therefore the idea that this is somehow an abnormal condition is just wrong.”
False premise; invalid conclusion.
Mr Rudd shows he is not, after all, averse to simplistic three-word slogans. “Born that way” puts him on an intellectual par with Lady Gaga, but puts him at odds with recognised clinical authorities.
The American Psychiatric Association, arbiter of all psychological diagnoses, disputes the “born that way” thesis. It says: “There are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality”.
Even the avowedly pro-gay American Psychological Association cannot reach a “born that way” conclusion: “No findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.” Director of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins, notes: “Sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”
All one can conclude is that the origin of same-sex attraction is multi-factorial, with predisposing and precipitating factors; it is not a mere “choice” but nor is it innate and immutable, as many former homosexuals can attest.
The public policy importance of rejecting the “born that way” fallacy is to stop propagandists portraying marriage rights for gay people as equivalent to civil rights for black people and therefore smearing opponents of gay marriage, as they do, as being no better than racists.
The arbiters of public policy, political parties, should respect cultural and religious traditions while establishing marriage policy on strictly secular grounds.
So in my state of Queensland the Liberal National Party frames its opposition to gay marriage on the secular grounds of the rights of the child. Its policy “affirms the fundamental right and deep emotional need of a child to have both a mother and a father; notes that same-sex marriage makes it impossible for children to have both a mother and a father; and therefore opposes the legislation of same-sex marriage”.
The federal Coalition recognises marriage as only between man and woman, although there is agitation in the party room to abandon its position and adopt a conscience vote. If marriage is fundamentally about the needs of children and their right, where possible, to be raised by both a mother and a father, a principled party will defend that as policy.
The constitutional larrikinism of territories and states meddling with marriage needs to be quashed by the High Court. But beyond that, such a radical reordering of society would demand the ultimate democratic authority of a referendum.
Give all Australians a conscience vote on this proposed revolution in marriage and family, with its deliberate creation of generations of motherless or fatherless children and its cultural enshrining of Mardi Gras morality.
I have faith in the Australian people that, faced with a choice between the demands of two men to be called a marriage and the needs of a child to have, where possible, both a mum and a dad, they will vote on behalf of the child.
Dr David van Gend is a Toowoomba GP and Queensland secretary for the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life. This article originally appeared on Online Opinion — Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate.