SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: IS IT HARMLESS?



by Patrick J. Byrne (re-published with the permission of the author)



News Weekly, October 12, 2013.



Same-sex marriage fundamentally changes not only the legal definition of marriage, but all the social, educational, economic, legal and religious institutions that service and support marriage, family and children.



Yet, the lobby pushing for redefining marriage argues that same-sex marriage does no harm to anyone else, so it should be legalised.



In the Australian Capital Territory there is a same-sex marriage bill before the legislative assembly, and in New South Wales a similar bill is planned.



These bills are proceeding despite the federal parliament’s decisive vote last year against redefining marriage, and despite such legislation being inconsistent with the Commonwealth Marriage Act.



Schools: If marriage is redefined in law, it would be legal to teach same-sex marriage, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual issues in schools. In fact, the courts may invoke anti-discrimination law to force these issues into schools.



The Australian Education Union’s policy declares that “homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and intersex need to be normalised” in education (AEU Policy on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People, 2006). 1.



In 2006, the NSW Attorney-General’s Department produced a Learn to Include: Teachers Manual for primary schools. It provides a range of resources for teaching about same-sex parents in primary schools.



Advisors for the project included the Lesbian Health Project Officer, ACON Western Sydney; NSW Anti-Homophobia Interagency; the Centre for Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood, University of Melbourne; Education & Health Promotion Programs, Unit Family Planning Association Health (NSW); NSW Anti-Homophobia Interagency; and the NSW Teachers’ Federation. 2.



After same-sex marriage was legalised in California USA, the Fair Education Act 2011 was passed. It was co-sponsored by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and Equality California.



This law requires the teaching of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history in California schools. 3.



Children: Same-sex marriage will greatly affect future children, denying many their birth right to their true biological identity.



Not only will it result in more children being born of donor conception and surrogacy, but the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual (GLBT) lobby is campaigning to have the birth certificates of children adopted by same-sex couples to be changed to record the same-sex couple in place of the biological parents (“LGBT rights in Australia”, Wikipedia). 4.



Already, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby offers online advice about lesbian parenting laws in NSW. It’s “Q&A” section answers the question, “How do I get a new birth certificate for my child with our names on it?” 5.



A Sydney district court ruled in 2011 that a man who acted as a sperm donor to a lesbian couple had “no contractual right” to be on the birth certificate of his biological daughter (Sydney Daily Telegraph, August 18, 2011). 6.



The Australian Human Rights Commission has recommended — in the interest of same-sex parents — that birth certificates should be open to recording any of the “birth mother, birth father, lesbian co-mother or gay co-father” (Same-sex entitlements, Australian Human Rights Commission, p.107). 7.



This stands in contrast to Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), which says: “The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.” 8.



While the GLBT lobby wants to replace biological parents’ names on birth certificates with the names of same-sex partners (“psychological” parents), there have been three inquiries into the rights of donor-conceived children to know their “biological” origins. These inquires were by: the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs inquiry (2011), the Victorian Law Reform Commission (2012) and the NSW Legislative Assembly (2012). 9, 10, 11.



All three inquiries recommended that donor-conceived children should have a right to access their biological mother/father.



Businesses will also be affected by same-sex marriage, particularly those associated with wedding services — photographers, caterers, function hire places — and bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Same-sex marriage law greatly increases the reach of anti-discrimination law.



In the U.S. state of New Mexico, where same-sex marriage is legal, the state’s supreme court last month found photographer Elaine Huguenin guilty under the New Mexico Human Rights Act of refusing to provide her services to a lesbian couple’s wedding (Christianity Today, August 22, 2013). 12.



Two weeks after legislators in the U.S. state of Oregon passed a same-sex marriage law, a local maker of old-fashioned wedding trolleys was forced to shut down his business after being hounded by the GLBT lobby for refusing to supply a lesbian wedding function, according to the Baltimore Sun (December 25, 2012).



The paper noted, “Wedding vendors elsewhere who refused to accommodate same-sex couples have faced discrimination lawsuits — and lost.” 13.



In Europe, a draft piece of European Union law known as the Equal Treatment Directive will, if passed, drastically increase pressure on business, particularly in countries recognising same-sex marriage. It will force businesses to provide goods or services that contravene their consciences on threat of being hauled before the courts if they don’t. 14.



Churches will gain only temporary exemptions from involvement in same-sex marriages, at best.



Less than two weeks after same-sex marriage was signed into UK law, a lawsuit was lunched against a Church of England parish for refusing a wedding ceremony for two gay men. 15.



Last year, over 30 GLBT and rights groups told an inquiry into proposed consolidation of Australia’s federal anti-discrimination acts that there should be no exemptions, or only minimal exemptions, for churches and schools (News Weekly, May 26, 2012). 16.



Furthermore, in 2012 six ALP senators presented a dissenting report against the Senate inquiry recommending a same-sex marriage bill. These included: Senators Mark Furner, Ursula Stephens, Helen Polley, Alex Gallacher, Catryna Bilyk, Mark Bishop, Glenn Sterle.



In commenting on the bill’s exemptions clauses for the churches, to ensure that “ministers of religion will not be compelled to solemnise same-sex marriages”, the six ALP senators said:



“While churches remain at the mercy of legislation for such protection, it does not guarantee this protection, as events in Denmark and Scotland in recent times have shown. Denmark has passed legislation to compel churches to officiate at same-sex ceremonies and Scotland is considering same-sex marriage with no church exemption.



“In addition to churches and ministers remaining at the mercy of the government of the day, church-run schools could be subject to anti-discrimination laws as to what they can teach on the subject of marriage.” 17

Patrick J. Byrne is national vice-president of the National Civic Council. 



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References:



1. Australian Education Union Policy on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People, As adopted at the 2006 Annual Federal Conference. http://www.aeuvic.asn.au/gay_lesbian_bisexual_transgender_and_intersex_people_2006.pdf



2. Learn to Include Teachers Manual: Learn to Include Educational Series Teaching and Learning about Diverse Families in a Primary School Setting, Editor: Vicki Harding, NSW Attorney General’s Department. 2006.



http://www.dialog.unimelb.edu.au/lesbian/pdf/Learn%20to%20Include%20teachers%20manual.pdf



3. FAIR Education Act: LGBTQ-Inclusive Lessons and Activities, gsaNetwork. http://www.gsanetwork.org/files/resources/National%20LGBTQ-inclusive%20lessons%20%26%20activities.pdf



http://www.gsanetwork.org/FAIR/lessons



4. LGBTI Rights/Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Summary Table, LGBT rights in Australia, Wikipedia, as of September 23, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Australia



5. Lesbian Parenting Laws in NSW, Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW). http://glrl.org.au/index.php/Rights/Parenting/New-Lesbian-Parenting-Laws



6. Donor is young girl’s dad no more as lesbian wins court battle, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), August 18, 2011.



7. Same-sex entitlements, Australian Human Rights Commission, pg. 107.



8. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).http://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/content/human_rights/samesex/report/pdf/SSSE_Report.pdf



9. Donor Conception Practices in Australia, Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs inquiry 2011. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/Completed%20inquiries/2010-13/donorconception/report/index



10. Inquiry in Access of Donor-Conceived People into Information about Donors, Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2012. http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lawreform/article/1468



11. The inclusion of donor details on the register of birth. NSW Legislative Assembly Inquiry, 2012. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/7E4018E851966190CA25792D0017F32F



12. Ted Olson, “NM Supreme Court: Photographers can’t refuse gay weddings”, Christianity Today, August 22, 2013.

URL: www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/august/nm-supreme-court-photographers-cant-refuse-gay-weddings.html



13. Opposed to same-sex marriage, company ends wedding business, The Baltimore Sun, December 25, 2012. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2972475/posts



14. "European Faith Made Private", First Things, June/July.



http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/05/european-faith-made-private



15. ‘I am still not getting what I want’: Gay couple suing church for refusing ‘wedding’, LifeSite News, August 2, 2013.



http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-am-still-not-getting-what-i-want-gay-couple-suing-church-for-refusing-wed/



16. Push for new laws to attack churches, schools, by Patrick J. Byrne, News Weekly, May 26, 2012 http://www.newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=5191&s=FUGWcM



17. Dissenting report by individual Labor senators, Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, June 6, 2012.