WESTERN AUSTRALIA: by News WeeklyNews Weekly
Marriage devalued in WA 'reforms'
, October 6, 2001
Attorney General Jim McGinty has given ringing endorsement to the key recommendations of the Ministerial Committee on Lesbian and Gay Law Reform, whose report, along with McGinty's supportive Ministerial Statement, was tabled in State Parliament on August 2.
The Committee, McGinty said, "consisted mainly of gays and lesbians because I believe that people who have experienced discrimination are best placed to identify where our laws are deficient".
The Committee refused to accept submissions from anyone who did not share their agenda.
Despite earlier suggestions from the Government, there will be no formal period of public comment on the report before the Government proceeds to draft and introduce legislation to implement its recommendations.
With the ALP and Greens in control of Parliament the homosexual lobby has abandoned the old salami tactics - one slice at a time - and made a bid for a gigantic land grab.
If Lionel Murphy's 1974 Family Law Act dealt a body blow to marriage in Australia with its introduction of unilateral, no-fault divorce, the McGinty "reforms" represent the coup de grace
to marriage in Western Australian law, as it will have no more status than that of two men in a short-term relationship of sexual convenience.
McGinty has endorsed a significant assault on free speech by supporting the enactment of anti-vilification legislation based on the New South Wales model. This prohibits any public act which is held to "incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons on the ground of the homosexuality of the person or members of the group". Such legislation has a depressing effect on public debate.
McGinty supports amending the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 to allow lesbian couples access to IVF, when one of the women is medically infertile, and to allow all lesbians, infertile or otherwise, access to artificial insemination. He also proposes changing the Adoption Act 1994 so that male homosexual and lesbian partners can adopt children - either as a couple adopting an unrelated child or one partner adopting the natural child of the other or a child born by artificial insemination or IVF.
No consideration seems to have been given to the fundamental right of a child to have both a mother and a father.
When male homosexual behaviour was legalised in 1989, the age of consent was set at 21. The Committee has recommended, and McGinty has accepted, that the age of consent for male homosexual acts, including sodomy, be dropped to 16.
The Australian Family Association has pointed out that the Criminal Code provides a "reasonable belief defence" to a charge of sexual offences against a child of or over 13 and under 16.
This defence means that if the accused can prove that he believed on reasonable grounds that the child was over the age of 16 years he must be found not guilty. This defence would apply to homosexual acts allowing men to escape conviction for sexual offences against 13-year-old boys.
The Ministerial Committee responded to this concern by recommending that the "reasonable belief" defence only apply if the age difference between the accused and the victim is no more than five years!
With revolutionary fervour the Ministerial Committee has recommended - and the Gallop Labor Government has agreed - to amend every single piece of Western Australian legislation that mentions marriage.
Over 120 Acts or Regulations are to be changed. The net effect of this is to downgrade the status of marriage to be just a private variation of the legally recognised and privileged status of "relationship".
This definition of de facto relationships, including homosexual couples, will be incorporated in further legislation conferring benefits on de facto and homosexual partners including pensions and superannuation; rights as "senior next of kin" in relation to organ transplants, autopsies, cremation, etc. and the right to challenge a will.
In each case, it seems likely that the rights of de facto and homosexual partners will supersede the existing rights of spouses.
Marriage has enjoyed a unique social and legal status in Western Australia, as in every other society in recorded history, precisely because it is a publicly declared, lifelong, exclusive relationship between a man and a woman oriented to bearing and raising children.
To give de facto and homosexual relationships equal status to marriage is unjust, incoherent and unworkable.