Saturday, July 06, 2013

Prying open Pandora's box

Below is an email I received from the progressive left's favourite conservative hate group, Focus on the Family, about last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which may yet have implications for Australia. In the same week as this decision, former Australian Prime Minister  Kevin Rudd reclaimed the job he lost in 2010 when in similar circumstances, Julia Gillard removed him in a swift and ruthless party room coup.

Rudd has publicly stated that he supports same sex marriage. His return to office and the Supreme Court decision have been taken by Australia's same sex marriage movement as positive developments. They are hoping that if Rudd's Labor government wins another term at the next election, which was scheduled for September 14, but will now be held at an unknown date, same sex marriage will be passed by the next Parliament.

The Focus on the Family email reads as follows:

"The dust is settling on this week's marriage rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome certainly wasn't what we would like as the Court overruled the authority of Congress to define its own laws and disregarded the votes of more than seven million Californians who voted for Proposition 8, the 2008 state marriage amendment defining marriage as one-man and one-woman.

Still, there's a silver lining in the rulings: During oral arguments earlier this year, same-sex marriage activists laid out their best arguments for re-defining marriage before the Court and those claims did not persuade justices to strike down state marriage laws or create a federal constitutional right to genderless marriage.
The majority opinions of the Court seemed to ignore the fact that children already pay the price of other social experiments like divorce and cohabitation. Children of same-sex unions are intentionally denied a father or a mother—not because of injustice in the world but as a result of two adults in a same-sex relationship who decide that what they want is more important than what children need. That's not justice.

The Court also failed to consider that religious freedom is already a casualty in the attempt to redefine marriage. Adoption agencies, churches, florists, bakers, photographers and parents are mostly on the losing end when their religious faith conflicts with the elevation of homosexuality in culture. That's not equality.

Ultimately, God's design for sexuality, marriage and family prevails throughout time and history. Focus on the Family will stand in that truth as we continue to be a voice for marriage, children and religious freedom as this battle continues."

The third and fourth paragraphs of this email strike me as especially pertinent. It hits the nail right on the head. For one thing, in this same sex marriage debate, with different voices clamouring to be heard, little thought has been given to what the wider social consequences of such a massive and radical piece of social engineering might be. Much of this cause's progression has been achieved by the aggressive assertion of rights, with little thought given to what it will mean for society as a whole. Progressives are fond of asserting that while not every marriage produces children, and cite flawed and biased studies which purport to show that there are no adverse affects on children raised by same sex parents compared to those raised by a mother and father.

Secondly, it refers to those who have already been adversely affected by same sex marriage laws in the American state of Massachusetts and Canada.  The impact on adoption agencies, churches, florists, bakers, photographers and parents has already been well documented. While at the time of writing, no member of the clergy or celebrant has been taken to court for declining, on grounds of conscience, to perform a same sex wedding, surely it is only a matter of time before this happens.

Likewise, surely it is only a matter of time before similar things start happening in Australia. Just this week the Federal Parliament amended Australia's anti-discrimination laws to remove exemptions for faith based, federally funded aged care facilities. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status is now illegal.

Just as they have in other countries in the Western world, Australia's same sex marriage advocates often claim that if same sex marriage became legal in Australia, there would be exemptions that would protect Christian churches from having to perform same sex weddings, but many legal, human rights, and same sex lobby groups have argued that there should either be very few or no exemptions under the law. When you think logically about how these things progress, this recent legislative reform appears to set a precedent of what churches and faith based organisations may well be faced with in coming years.

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