Tuesday, March 3, 2009

On the N.S.W. Upper House Inquiry into same-sex adoption: first principles


Before I examine some of the submissions to the Inquiry and the transcripts of the Inquiry’s public hearings I will state here the basic principles underpinning my analysis. These are principles with which any man or women of good will—including homosexuals—ought to be able to agree.

1. All else equal, a child is better off being reared by a mother and a father than by ‘two mums’ or ‘two dads’ because even the homosexuals (such as here) acknowledge that a child needs balanced, first-hand exposure to members of both sexes, and the mother-father parenthood structure provides this exposure most stably and enduringly, for the obvious reason that both sexes are represented in the relationship.

2. Given the ceteris paribus assumption in 1., it is fair to ask how likely it is that all else—such as the health and virtue of the parents and the stability and longevity of their relationship—will indeed be equal. Evidence available from pro-homosexual organizations such as the A.I.D.S. Council of New South Wales (ACON) indicates (see its 2006-07 Annual Report) that same-sex relationships are more likely than opposite-sex relationships to involve debilitating acquired diseases, drug abuse, mental illness and domestic violence. As to the stability and longevity of same-sex relationships, same-sex relationships appear to be less stable and enduring than opposite-sex ones—see the data and observations cited here, for instance. So even if we suppose that an adoption agency faces a choice between a same-sex couple and a opposite-sex couple whose members are equally healthy and virtuous (though obviously I reject that a same-sex couple can ever be virtuous, of course) and who have been together for a long time, the likely future prospects for the opposite-sex couple will be better than for the same-sex couple.

3. To assert, as pro-same-sex-adoption advocates argue, that family structure is irrelevant, is to call in question not only the superiority of the mother-father structure, but also whether the number of parents should even be limited to two. Indeed, if, as is implicit in the case for same-sex adoption, mothers and fathers are not complements but substitutes, one might even imagine that children’s outcomes could improve as the number of ‘co-parents’ increase! Yet no-one hears gay adoption advocates calling for the abandonment of the two-parent model altogether. So if, one way or another, we are going to be ‘arbitrary’ and ‘normative’ (though obviously I reject that the mother-father model is arbitrary), then why not stick to the model that has served society well hitherto?

Reginaldvs Cantvar
4.III.2009 A.D.

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