Lyle Shelton, in News.com.au Facebook Live debate, puts children at the centre of the marriage conversation.
With Tiernan Brady, Political director of the 'yes campaign' in Ireland. originally aired on https://www.facebook.com/news.com.au/
Matt Young of News.com.au also followed up with the following summary of the debate.
Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton explains anti-gay-marriage lobby is concerned about children
THE religious opposition to same-sex marriage has expressed its real concerns over same-sex marriage — and they want you to think of the children.
Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby told news.com.au that concerns over the fate of Australia’s future children is at the core of its opposition to allowing same-sex marriage pass through parliament.
“The baby who is taken from the breast of her mother doesn’t have a voice in this debate, the child who doesn’t get to know their father doesn’t have a voice,” Mr Shelton explained to news.com.au.
“There’s no inequality for gay people in Australia, there is none.
“But this issue of marriage is important because the law is not just something that is a big stick to beat us all over the head, it actually has an educative effect.
“Research clearly shows the quickest pathway to poverty for a child is for their biological mum and dad to break up, that's just a fact.”
In a Facebook Live debate on news.com.au, Mr Shelton went head-to-head with Tiernan Brady, political director of the ‘yes campaign’ in Ireland, representing Australian Marriage Equality.
Mr Shelton explained his concerns on same-sex marriage created “an inequality for a baby not to know the love of their mother or father” and claimed women who were “willing to hire their body” to surrogacy had become an “ethically dubious process”.
“I can’t see how you can have marriage equality for two men without their ability to pay money to acquire a child from a woman whose willing to hire her body.
“These are ethically dubious processes which have to flow as a consequence of redefining marriage.
“We’ve done a lot of work in Australia about the rights of donor conceived children to be allowed to know who their fathers are. Anonymous sperm donation is something which many women who wish to have families require because they don’t want a third person in their family, but the biological reality is a kid needs a mum and a dad, gender actually does matter to a child, and the diversity of gender matters to a child.”
Mr Brady accused Mr Shelton of causing a “deliberate misdirection” towards the argument, claiming “it’s about making sure all families are cherished equally”.
“Families come in all shapes and sizes, people in Australia know that. Our challenge at the moment is lesbians and gay people are not allowed to get married and have the same status and dignity for their relationship.
“Some people will have children, some people won’t have children. There will be lesbian and gay people raising children — as they are currently — the day after a vote no matter what the result.
“Denying them access to civil marriage doesn’t change the fact that they can be parents and they will continue to be parents. What it does do is ensure those families don’t have the same protection and dignity in law.”
Tiernan Brady (left), political director of the ‘yes campaign’ in Ireland, reacts to Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton.
Tiernan Brady (left), political director of the ‘yes campaign’ in Ireland, reacts to Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton.Source:News Corp Australia
Yet in a surprise twist, Mr Shelton expressed two men or two women “can love a baby and be good parents” and even in some cases they could “produce better outcomes” but questioned “is it ethical for a child to be denied the love and nurture of their mother or father? I don't think so, and we need to think seriously about this change because it affects more than just a loving couple.”
“If you redefine marriage you are by consequence redefining parenting, unless you’re going to have a form of marriage that doesn’t have children that says, ‘no we respect the right of children to have a mum and a dad so we’re just going to allow two people to have a form of marriage’. “That wouldn't infringe on the rights of a child, but I don’t believe that’s what the same-sex lobby is talking about.
“They want full equality and they want the consequences of that equality.”
When questioned over his views of heterosexual couples using surrogacy, Mr Shelton expressed his opposition, describing his views of anonymous sperm donation as “unethical”.
“We’ve been consistent in that approach. Public policy should always put the rights of the child first, that should be our starting point.
“All of us have desires and things that we would like to have in life, but if those desires, those adult desires, trump the rights of a child then I think we have to ask ourselves are we really a civil society if we’re prepared to override the needs of a child for the rights of an adult.”
This morning, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the key to marriage was commitment, and if a same-sex couple has that for each other it won’t have any impact on heterosexual marriages.
“The threat to marriage is obviously a lack of commitment, cruelty, desertion,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.
“If same-sex couples were able to describe or formalise their relationship as a marriage, we have no doubt that would not undermine ... our marriage.”
Mr Turnbull and his wife of 36 years, Lucy, will be voting yes in a national vote on same-sex marriage if his government is reinstalled on Saturday.
“We welcome couples making a strong commitment and we are very pleased to support that being described from a legal point of view, as a marriage,” he said.
The prime minister has promised to hold a plebiscite on the issue, convinced if the nation votes in favour a same-sex marriage bill will sail through the parliament.
But Labor says the nonbinding vote is a waste of money and could lead to hate campaigns aimed at same-sex couples and their children.