Thursday, September 9, 2010

Notes: Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Same-sex adoptions law faces further vote"

In today's Herald:

THE NSW Legislative Council voted last night in favour of same-sex adoptions but approved an amendment which means the legislation will now return to the Legislative Assembly for a further vote.

After a lengthy debate, 22 voted in favour of the legislation in the upper house and 15 voted against it in a conscience vote.

The margin was much greater than the two-vote margin in the Legislative Assembly.

After approving the legislation in principle, the Legislative Council debated a series of amendments.

The most notable was one moved by the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, seeking to tighten an earlier lower house amendment that Frank Sartor had moved and which sought to release faith-based organisations from the application of the legislation.

This amendment was approved by the same 22-15 margin, which will now result in the legislation returning to the Legislative Assembly where it will be subject to a further vote.

This has triggered concerns that the legislation could be voted down, since two MPs absent last week are expected to oppose the legislation. That would then give the Speaker the casting vote and the legislation could be blocked.

At the conclusion of yesterday's debate, Penny Sharpe said: ''The bill does nothing but give same-sex couples access to applications.''

Ms Sharpe moved the legislation on behalf of Clover Moore, who introduced the legislation to Parliament. [...]


A couple of points:
  • I wonder what, precisely, was Mr. Hatzistergos's amendment?
  • Interesting that the reporter speaks of "concerns" being "triggered", rather than, say, 'hopes' being 'raised', or if he wanted to sound neutral, a 'possibility emerging'
A surrogacy Bill for New South Wales (plus an example of the kind of mayhem which makes such legislation desirable for surrogacy's supporters)

From yesterday's Sydney Daily Telegraph (page thirteen of the print edition, on-line version posted below):

SURROGACY laws will be introduced into NSW, giving people legal rights as parents when someone has a child on their behalf.

The proposal was brought to Cabinet by Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, with a conscience vote planned in both houses.

The proposal would ban commercial surrogacy but allow gay couples to use surrogates to have their children.

Strict age limits would be provided on the "carriers" of children, with the minimum age for carrying a child to be 25.

The laws follow a conscience vote at the national ALP conference on the issue and a parliamentary committee report earlier this year which found parents raising a surrogate child were not recognised as legal parents.

That committee recommended allowing parents in surrogacy arrangements to apply for legal parentage of a child six weeks after the child is born. At present, surrogacy is not illegal, but parents of a surrogate child have no rights.

[...] The conscience vote follows that on same-sex adoption which was expected to pass the Upper House last night.

Creating conscience votes on social issues were partly intended to create a "wedge" between Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell, who tends to vote as a small "l" liberal on such matters, and religious-right powerbroker David Clarke, Labor sources said. [...]


And here's the example to which I referred in the heading for this item:

"Struggle over 'ownership' of baby split gay parents"

Expect a future Parliamentary inquiry into 'multi-parent adoption/surrogacy' (the possibility of such an inquiry was mooted in one of the pro-gay-adoption submissions to the gay adoption inquiry, but I don't have time to track down the reference). A surrogate child can, of course, have as many as five persons who can be said in some sense to be his or her parents--the sperm donor, the egg donor, the surrogate mother, and the two (or I suppose that that should be 'at least two') persons who intend to raise the child.

"The gender myth"

Interesting to read that article in the light of the thoughts of that 'female-to-male transsexual' last week. Also, two of the experts whom that article quotes say respectively that "[y]es, there are basic behavioural differences between the sexes" and that "[y]es, boys and girls, men and women, are different", but the author's thesis is that these differences can be mitigated (or, for that matter, reinforced and exaggerated). One of the experts says that

We are being told there is nothing we can do to improve our potential because it is innate. That is wrong. Boys can develop powerful linguistic skills and girls can acquire deep spatial skills.

But by acknowledging that there are innate, if not insuperable, differences between the sexes in these abilities, potentials, and tendencies, she seems implicitly to say that men and women respectively have a sort of 'comparative advantage' over the opposite sex in these abilities, potentials, and tendencies. Actually, those advantages would seem to be absolute, not comparative, since an absolute advantage is a greater productive capacity, whereas a comparative advantage is just a lower opportunity cost--hence boys can indeed "develop powerful linguistic skills", but girls can do so more easily, and similarly for spatial skills. I'd have to give this more thought, though.

H.H. The Pope and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Inter-religious Dialogue on religious liberty

Two items from today's Vatican Information Service daily e-mail bulletin:


VATICAN CITY, 8 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Following his general audience this morning, the Holy Father received members of the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The meeting marked the sixtieth anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights, which "commits member States of the Council of Europe to promote and defend the inviolable dignity of the human person".

Speaking English, Benedict XVI referred to the topics on the parliamentary assembly's agenda, such as "persons who live in particularly difficult situations or are subjected to grave violations of their dignity". He made particular mention of "people afflicted with handicaps, children who suffer violence, immigrants, refugees, those who pay the most for the present economic and financial crisis, those who are victims of extremism or of new forms of slavery such as human trafficking, the illegal drug trade and prostitution, ... victims of warfare and people who live in fragile democracies". The Pope also dwelt on the organisation's efforts "to defend religious freedom and to oppose violence and intolerance against believers in Europe and worldwide.

"Keeping in mind the context of today's society in which different peoples and cultures come together", he added, "it is imperative to develop the universal validity of these rights as well as their inviolability, inalienability and indivisibility. On different occasions I have pointed out the risks associated with relativism in the area of values, rights and duties. If these were to lack an objective rational foundation, common to all peoples, and were based exclusively on particular cultures, legislative decisions or court judgements, how could they offer a solid and long-lasting ground for supranational institutions such as the Council of Europe? ... How could a fruitful dialogue among cultures take place without common values, rights and stable, universal principles understood in the same way by all member States of the Council of Europe?"

He went on: "These values, rights and duties are rooted in the natural dignity of each person, something which is accessible to human reasoning. The Christian faith does not impede, but favours this search, and is an invitation to seek a supernatural basis for this dignity".

The Holy Father concluded by expressing his conviction that "these principles, faithfully maintained, above all when dealing with human life, from conception to natural death, with marriage - rooted in the exclusive and indissoluble gift of self between one man and one woman - and freedom of religion and education, are necessary conditions if we are to respond adequately to the decisive and urgent challenges that history presents".
AC/ VIS 20100908 (440)


VATICAN CITY, 8 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue today released an English-language communique describing its "great concern at the news of the proposed 'Koran Burning Day' on the occasion of the anniversary of the 11 September tragic terrorist attacks in 2001 which resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and considerable material damage.

"These deplorable acts of violence, in fact, cannot be counteracted by an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community. Each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, has the right to respect and protection. We are speaking about the respect to be accorded the dignity of the person who is an adherent of that religion and his/her free choice in religious matters.

"The reflection which necessarily should be fostered on the occasion of the remembrance of 11 September would be, first of all, to offer our deep sentiments of solidarity with those who were struck by these horrendous terrorist attacks. To this feeling of solidarity we join our prayers for them and their loved ones who lost their lives.

"Each religious leader and believer is also called to renew the firm condemnation of all forms of violence, in particular those committed in the name of religion. Pope John Paul II affirmed: 'Recourse to violence in the name of religious belief is a perversion of the very teachings of the major religions' (address to the new ambassador of Pakistan, 16 December 1999). His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI similarly expressed, 'violence as a response to offences can never be justified, for this type of response is incompatible with the sacred principles of religion' (address of His Holiness Benedict XVI, to the new ambassador of Morocco, 6 February 2006)".
CON-DIR/ VIS 20100908 (300)

It's always disappointing to see the Vatican preaching religious liberty, but it's interesting to see how this supposed right was qualified in each item: His Holiness spoke of "[k]eeping in mind the context of today's society in which different peoples and cultures come together", which can be interpreted in an orthodox manner so that religious liberty is conceived of as a legitimate policy of prudent tolerance in societies which are far from unified in the true Faith (though I don't mean to suggest that that is how the Holy Father would want his words interpreted), and while the P.C.I.D. speaks of

Each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, ha[ving] the right to respect and protection.

which is in itself false, because obviously a false religion has no innate right to respect and protection, the P.C.I.D. explains this respect as

the respect to be accorded the dignity of the person who is an adherent of that religion and his/her free choice in religious matters.

which remedies some of the heterodoxy of the preceding sentence, since obviously we need to respect everyone for their (ontological) dignity, but since a choice of falsehood and evil deserves no respect, the heterodoxy is not completely eliminated.

Blog comments by me

Just one, at Mr. Schütz's blog:

Cardinal Pole
September 9, 2010 at 5:34 am

Earlier on, Paul G asked

“If gay “marriage” is made legal, can anyone explain to [him] the reason for keeping polygamy illegal?”
Peregrinus wrote in response that

“The fact that someone rejects one of the key characteristics of the Christian concept of marriage (heterosexuality, openness to procreation*) doesn’t necessarily mean that they will must reject another of them (exclusivity).”

That’s true, but the problem is that the characteristic which advocates of so-called same-sex marriage reject at least implicitly is the characteristic of the complementarity of the spouses. ‘Marriage’ in the most general sense of the word is the uniting of two complementary parts into a whole. Hence a carpenter might speak of ‘marrying up’ two interlocking pieces of timber. The complementarity which is the defining feature of matrimony is primarily and at least initially sexual complementarity (and ‘sexual’ in the proper sense of the word, not the at best semi- or quasi-(really, pseudo-)sexual complementarity of a sodomite and his current catamite).

So for ‘gay marriage’ advocates, husband and wife are conceived of not as complements, but as substitutes. And if so, and there can hence be a husband and a husband or a wife and a wife in a marriage, then why not a husband and a husband and a husband, or four husbands, or two husbands and a wife, or whatever? If spouses are substitutes, not complements, then it seems arbitrary to fix the number of them at two per marriage.


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Peter Claver, Confessor, and of St. Gorgonius, Martyr, A.D. 2010

1 comment:

Cardinal Pole said...

Notice: There will be no edition of Notes today, Friday, September 10 (since I haven't found any news, blog, or discussion board items which I want to highlight here).