Friday, January 8, 2010

N.S.W. not to legislate (at least for now) for adoption by same-sex couples

http://www.smh.com.au/national/gay-adoption-ban-to-stay-20100107-lwud.html?skin=text-only
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/gay-labor-activists-slam-nsw/story-e6frg6n6-1225817137861
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/no-kids-for-same-sex-couples-despite-support/story-fn3dxity-1225816983999
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/gay-couples-cant-adopt-kids/story-e6freuy9-1225817112385
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/no-kids-for-same-sex-couples-despite-support/story-e6freuzr-1225816995670
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/C81BE8593A9FEC64CA2575ED000E043F

This comes after a report, towards the middle of last year, that the then-Rees Labor Government was going to abandon its move to legislate for same-sex couples to adopt children, and comes not long after the overturning of a pro-same-sex-parenting Administrative Decisions Tribunal ruling. Let’s start with today’s Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage:
Gay adoption ban to stay

Date: January 08 2010

THE State Government has decided not to allow same-sex couples to adopt, ignoring a parliamentary inquiry that said changing the law would ''ensure the best interests of children''.

The Government said yesterday there was insufficient community support to justify new legislation on the topic.

[…] ''There are very deeply held, divergent views on this issue and that is why a decision on this matter will not be taken at this stage,'' the Minister for Community Services, Linda Burney, said yesterday.
The reporter, Mr. Brian Robins, goes on to provide sound-bites from no fewer than three pro-sodomite organisations (in what was only a brief article—only seven paragraphs, none of which was more than two lines), without any comment from any anti-sodomite groups. How predictable; how pathetic.

Let’s look at The Australian’s coverage: That paper went for sensationalism, quoting one pro-sodomite group—Rainbow Labor—condemning the decision to maintain the ban as “appallingly gutless” and quoting one anti-sodomite organisation—St. Philip’s Christian College, Gosford—whose principal described same-sex adoption as “an abomination”. (The Australian does not mention that its source for that quotation was the College’s submission to the Inquiry; interesting how The Australian seems to have plucked the most lurid statement out of what must have been more than a hundred anti-same-sex-adoption submissions. But at least The Australian treated both the for and against camps with similar sensationalism, I suppose.) But The Australian used an interesting technique for covering what I suppose it wanted to present as ‘all angles’ of the story (to the extent to which one can do so in a short article, I suppose): It took one comment from pro-sodomites, one comment from anti-sodomites, and one comment from someone who, I suppose we’re expected to believe, is a neutral expert, describing the commenter merely as an “adoption advocate”:

But adoption advocate Janine Weir said the ban was an extreme form of prejudice. "Many same-sex couples do a tremendous job at raising children."
[http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/gay-labor-activists-slam-nsw/story-e6frg6n6-1225817137861]
I did a Google search of the keywords “janine weir adoption” (those words came up in the Google short-list which comes up as one types words into the space provided—I started typing “Janine Weir” and it came up with 50 500 result for “janine weir adoption) and a quick scan of the first fifty results gave no evidence that she’s some kind of gay adoption True Believer. Nevertheless, is this The Australian’s way of implying that, once one gets past the opinions of the partisans (pro- or anti-sodomite), the non-partisan position is to support same-sex adoption? As though those who put aside prejudices and simply consider the matter rationally and impartially ought to support same-sex adoption? It's plausible; after all, why not just take one comment from the fors and one from the againsts?

An A.A.P. report, carried at both The Australian and the Sydney Daily Telegraph, raised two further points, both rather ominous: It begins by noting that “SAME-SEX couples won't be allowed to adopt in NSW "at this stage"”—hence this post’s title; we’ve won a battle, but by no means the war—and that “Ms Burney said further consultation would take place as the Community and Disability Services Council discussed a national approach.” A national approach indeed; here we go again.

Now that we’ve examined this matter from a Media-Watch-type angle, let’s consider the matter in itself. Ms Burney’s official Government Response is available here (good luck trying to find it by Google—I had to go back and find the Inquiry website, since the P.D.F. of the Government Response is just a photocopy rather than a searchable document). The Daily Telegraph reported that Ms Burney thought that the idea of same-sex adoption had some “merit”, but, to be fair to Ms Burney, this is what she had to say on the matter of ‘merit’:
It is also acknowledged that there are many same sex couples who foster children on behalf of both government and non-government agencies. The Government notes that permanency planning is an essential aspect of effective out of home care and the ability for children to be adopted by their carers is an important aspect of permanency planning. For this reason I believe that the Committee’s response to this issue is not without merit.
[My emphasis,
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/C81BE8593A9FEC64CA2575ED000E043F],
third-from-last paragraph, p. 2]
Of course, Ms Burney does not write “For this reason alone”, but, nevertheless, she certainly doesn’t mention any other reason.

In the next, and penultimate, paragraph, Ms Burney writes

However, this is a complex and sensitive issue that tests deeply held personal values and beliefs; therefore it is important for the Government to continue to listen to the views of the wider community before deciding upon a final policy position.
In other words, it’s really a bit of a cop-out (with a whiff of procrastination about it—“it is important for the Government to continue to listen …”), and isn't even the Government's "final policy position". On the one hand, they don’t want to incur the wrath of the Sodomites’ League, but on the other hand they know that this sort of thing wouldn’t be too popular in the wider community. So they’ll just leave things as they are and, in this respect at least, try to keep themselves a small target (in many other respects, of course, N.S.W. Labor is a whopping great big target!). So the glaring inconsistencies remain, of single sodomites being allowed to adopt, and pairs of sodomites being able to foster. I suppose we can only entertain the forlorn hope of some kind of cultural shift enabling these inconsistencies to be remedied—by banning single sodomites from adopting and pairs of them from fostering.

And the Government’s justification for this cop-out is rather illogical: It protests that its primary concern is the welfare of children, but bases its decision on the divergence of opinions in the community. Well and good—whether gay couples are prevented from adopting because it’s inherently wrong or because the Government fears an electoral backlash , the main thing is that they are prevented from adopting—but where, then, does the Government stand with respect to the implications of same-sex parenting for the welfare of children? If it thinks that same-sex parenting is good for children, then it should say so. If it thinks not, then, again, it should say so. Given that the Government shows itself to have no problem with sodomites fostering (since it lets them do so for its agencies), one can only infer that the Government’s primary concern here is not the welfare of children, but, rather, its own political welfare. (I wonder: If a Bill for same-sex adoption had gone to a vote, would it have been a conscience vote? I suspect so, since Ms Burney writes about how “this is a complex and sensitive issue that tests deeply held personal values and beliefs”. The fallout would have been interesting to see if the Government had tried to take this on as official policy.)

But a post such as this would not be complete without a recapitulation of the case against adoption by same-sex couples. I’ve dealt with these things in depth on other occasions—see the contents of this blog’s G.L.B.T. tag, particularly page two (click ‘older posts’ at the bottom of the first page once you’ve clicked on the tag)—so here I’ll just submit the following points for your consideration:

1. We can begin by comparing same-sex and opposite-sex parenting while making the ceteris paribus assumption: All else equal, are one man and one woman better parents than, worse parents than, or no different to two men or two women? 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 sodomites and secularists (see 1.1-1.4) acknowledge that a child needs balanced, first-hand exposure to members of both sexes and that boys and girls need male and female role models, respectively, and the mother-father parenthood structure provides these things most stably and enduringly, for the obvious reason that both sexes are represented in the relationship. Given these aforementioned needs of children, why not aim for the family structure which incorporates a member of each sex into its very foundation, rather than just as part of an extended family or network of friends?

1.1 A pair of sodomites, Messrs. Trevor Elwell and Peter West, bought twin baby girls from India. The two men said that
[They]'ve thought long and hard about this and have put everything in place to make sure we can give these children everything they need - including plenty of girlfriends who are cat-fighting over who will be godmother
[http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/12-for-bootees-5-for-bib-30000-for-a-baby/2009/01/23/1232471590759.html]
1.2 Here is a quotation from a lesbian ‘co-parent’, Ms Tanya Sale:
Ms SALE: I think it has to be understood here that we are not anti-men. Trust me, we love them, but just not to marry them. We understand the importance of having a male in the children's lives. They are not surrounded by a mad bunch of females. There is a beautiful mixture here. A male is very important—we believe that—and that is why we have male role models in the children's lives.[http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/PARLMENT/committee.nsf/0/F50A7482DD42202CCA257516000ECBBF,
p. 71]
1.3 Sydney Morning Herald columnist and feminist and 'secular humanist' Ms Adele Horin wrote the following not long ago:

But encouraging sensitivity and empathy in boys, and the softness every mother knows is at their core, is essential if men and women are to enjoy happy partnerships at work and home. I can't offer a prescription. I know fathers are integral through example and instruction. Anti-bullying and anti-homophobic policies, and playground policing are important. I know schools should extend their guest list of male role models beyond sporting heroes.
[my emphasis,
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/bookish-boys-grow-into-gentle-men-but-their-early-years-can-be-brutal-20090522-bi84.html?page=-1]
Presumably, by symmetry, a similar truth holds for mothers? So why deliberately deny a child of either sex the opportunity of having parents of both sexes?

1.4 But perhaps the last word here should go to the secularist, feminist American author Ms Naomi Wolf, who can see that respectable scholarly literature tells us that

it serves everyone for men and women to share their sometimes different but often complementary strengths - a conclusion that seems reassuring
and that

men tend to rear children differently from women for similarly neurological reasons, encouraging more risk taking and independence and with less awareness of the details of their nurture. One can see the advantages to children of having both parenting styles.
[both quotations fromhttp://www.smh.com.au/opinion/how-the-male-brain-cant-see-the-laundry-pile-up-20090605-bydw.html?page=-1]
2. But given that it is assumed that all else is equal, one is entitled to ask: How likely it is that all else—such as the health and virtue of the respective parents and the stability, mutual fidelity and longevity of their respective relationships—will indeed be equal? As to health, one can look at evidence available even from pro-sodomite organisations such as the A.I.D.S. Council of New South Wales (ACON) (see its 2006-07 Annual Report, for instance). As to the stability, fidelity and longevity of same-sex relationships, same-sex relationships are less stable, faithful (to the extent that one can even use such a word of sodomites) and enduring than opposite-sex ones—see the data and observations cited here, for instance. Indeed, one pro-sodomite individual—namely Dr. Damien Riggs, on behalf of the Australian Psychological Society— who provided a submission to the Inquiry into same-sex adoption tried to defend same-sex couples against charges of the detrimental effects of instability by arguing that instability could be a good thing for children!:

[The “presumption … that having more than one partner over the life course is inherently detrimental to children”] denies the ways in which children are often very robust in their responses to change, and denies the positive benefits that children may gain from interacting with the many differing adults who come in and out of all children’s lives. Rather than focusing on presumption about what could impact upon children negatively (for which the list is endless), it is more appropriate to focus on things that do support children, namely caring relationships that respect children’s right to knowledge as active participants in the families that they are part of.
[http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/75B061A884A1F59FCA257567000D3195,
p. 3]
3. But as a matter of fact, the ceteris paribus assumption is not even necessary for proving the illegitimacy of same-sex parenting. We have already seen Ms Wolf’s observation of the different parenting styles of men and women and her conclusion that “[o]ne can see the advantages to children of having both parenting styles”. But moreover, it is a parent’s duty to teach his or her children, by word and example, to abide by the natural law, that is, to teach them right from wrong. Without this instruction a child will tend not to grow up to be healthy and virtuous. But a same-sex couple is incapable of giving this teaching credibly because it is, in its very structure, in open and willing defiance of the natural law. (And I must stress the structural inadequacy of same-sex couples; it might happen that an opposite-sex couple might defy the natural law in this or that way, but if so, it is deficient not by nature, but because of some defect in its nature. The same-sex couple is, however, defective by nature and is hence to be rejected unconditionally, whereas one would only ever reject an opposite-sex couple conditionally.) Thus the absolute superiority of opposite-sex parenting is independent of the ceteris paribus assumption; even the most slovenly of opposite-sex couples offers a more credible witness to the requirements of the natural law than the most well-organised (if that’s the right way to put it) of same-sex couples.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
8.I.2010

1 comment:

Louise said...

the non-partisan position is to support same-sex adoption

The bias in the media is completely intolerable, more because it does not acknowledge any such bias.

Glad to hear it's gone down in NSW and hope it stays that way.