Parliamentarians planning to ‘own’ Bill Shorten’s same-sex marriage bill need to explain how they would protect the rights of children to know their biological parents.

In abolishing “man and woman” in the Marriage Act, Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said parliamentarians risked legislating one of the greatest injustices against the rights of children in modern times.

“Redefining marriage would redefine family. Mr Shorten hasn’t thought through how exactly two men or two women acquire a baby.

“By definition, same-sex parenting means intentionally removing a child from their mum or dad.

“For a child, the wording of Bill Shorten’s same-sex marriage bill matters. Replacing ‘man and woman’ with ‘two people’ means replacing a child’s mum or dad with someone else.

“Abolishing the terms ‘husband and wife’, ‘man and woman’ has consequences for the human rights of children.”

Mr Shelton said there were no safeguards in Mr Shorten’s bill to ensure a child would always have the right to know her or his biological parents.

“Will parliamentarians ensure that a child’s birth certificate tells the truth about that child’s parentage?

“Parliamentarians wishing to ‘own’ Mr Shorten’s bill should also explain whether or not they support Australia’s current prohibition on commercial surrogacy.

“A Senate committee inquiring into donor conceptions practices in Australia unanimously supported a ban on sperm donor anonymity. Could this recommendation ever be enacted if same-sex marriage is legislated?

“The rights that flow from ‘marriage equality’ cannot be realised without unfettered access to assisted reproductive technology.

“This requires severing the primal bond between a child and its parents and depriving the child of knowledge of its biological parent for life.

“I would urge parliamentarians to think through these important ethical issues before they decide whether or not to ‘own’ a bill which abolishes ‘man and woman’ in the Marriage Act.”