“You’re conflating two separate issues” a federal politician told me when I made the obvious point that marriage matters to children. Similar statements along this same lie were made on a recent TV program which debated this issue…
TONY JONES (host): So you can deny it if you like: “The fact is every child in a same sex family structure has been taken from its biological mother or father”. Is that correct? Is that what you said?
LYLE SHELTON (pro-marriage): Yeah, it is, actually, Tony. That is a sharp statement and…
KERRYN PHELPS (marriage-redefiner): You know I’m sitting right here, don’t you?
LYLE SHELTON (pro-marriage): Yeah, I do, Kerryn, and I bear no ill-will…
KERRYN PHELPS (marriage-redefiner): But you know what you’re saying is complete nonsense.
LYLE SHELTON (pro-marriage): It’s not actually nonsense, Kerryn. There is many same sex couples like yourself who are raising kids that have come from a previous relationship.
KERRYN PHELPS (marriage-redefiner): What’s it got to do with marriage?
TONY JONES (host): Sorry, I just want to finish the point. So I’m interested in what you mean by “taken”.
LYLE SHELTON (pro-marriage): Yep. Yep.
TONY JONES (host): I mean, do you literally mean stolen? Are you talking…
TONY JONES (host): No, I’m serious. Are you talking about a kind of stolen generation?
LYLE SHELTON (pro-marriage): Well, we did take Indigenous children and babies from their mothers and give them to loving families but the error that we apologised for was for taking them from their biological mother and father. Now, through assisted reproductive technology, we are taking the child from their biological father or their mother and giving them to someone else. Now, that doesn’t mean…
KERRYN PHELPS (marriage-redefiner): That is nothing to do with marriage, Lyle.
Article 16 of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Exactly wrong. It’s got much to do with marriage. Marriage is a compound right, one what comes with the right to found a family.
If there’s any chance of redefining marriage, it comes at the cost of ignoring the rights of children. And ignore it they will at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society – children.
That’s what happens when we compromise the needs of children for the wants of adults.
That’s what happens when marriage is viewed from a shallow, single perspective. Marriage is far richer and more complex than that. It is far richer that just the two people entering into it. It’s also about the children coming from it and the wider society it touches.
If that sounds dramatic, let’s hear from the children themselves. Shallow slogans and superficial polling are used to dismiss this like it’s only a theoretical discussion but it’s not. We’re dealing with real people in the real world. We need to see what actually happens to those who live through the loss of their mother or father.
Please take the time to see this perspective from three very brave ladies. Even better, share it.
In Article 7: Children have the right to know their parents and, as far as possible, to be cared for by them.
In Article 8: Governments should respect a child’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.
In Article 9: Children should not be separated from their parents unless it is for their own good. For example, if a parent is mistreating or neglecting a child. Children whose parents have separated have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might harm the child.
The UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.