Saturday, July 12, 2008

Same sex relationships - won't someone think of the aunties?

Breda O'Brien returns to the topic again today 'It is the belief that wherever possible, a child should be reared by a mother and a father, and that children have the right to know and have a relationship with their biological parents.' I wonder if 'wherever possible' is the 'wherever practicable' of social thinking amongst the new Christian right. I say new right but they sound a lot like the old right to me.

I'm sure my own individual mail (see bottom of post) had nothing to do with her returning to the topic but I suspect she got lots of mail over the week and that fact probably did have something to do with her response. I had mentioned in my mail that I thought a more important fact was that 'Children have the right to be raised in a loving home, ...'

First though, let's start with the above comment she made' children have the right to know and have a relationship with their biological parents' - is she in truth suggesting that all current adoptions should follow this route with biological parents being required to play an active part in their children's lives? I would wish that she would be clear and state that she is also objecting to the adoption of children by single people and also objecting to IVF. David Quinn has mentioned that a few times but hasn't banged that drum too loudly as most people are inclined to be sympathetic to those who go for IVF. They're no eejits these lads and lassies.

Moving on from there she doesn't mention at all that more important than being 'reared by a mother and a father' is that you are reared in a loving, nurturing and supportive environment. the mere presence of a male parental unit, and a female parental unit is not sufficient to ensure that those elements are going to be present. Shouldn't we think more about the importance of children having loving and caring parents at all than what their sexual orientation is?

This is what I'd sent to her last week, I'm sure she had other comment too during the course of the week.

'I’m not at all clear how asking a straightforward yes or no question like “Are you homophobic?” is a "have you stopped beating your wife?" type of question. Surely a version of that question would take more a form like “When will you stop persecuting homosexuals?”. I suspect Matt Cooper was as interested to know what was behind Senator Walsh sudden interest in
the topic (or in legislation more generally) given that he is one of the more laid back Senators when it comes to debate within the Seanad. He is more known for his work tending to the needs of those cllrs who vote for him than a strong interest in the legislative role of his office.

I don’t doubt that people use the term homophobe as a battering ram in many a discussion but it is also the case that the rights of children is being used to serve a similar purpose. Children have the right to be raised in a loving home, while I would have my own bias that it may well be a family unit with a mother and a father, aunts and uncles, grandparents and even siblings has the benefit of long practice. But the absence alone of some component of that ideal family is not a sufficient reason to preclude someone from the adoption process. I wouldn’t seek to prevent single people or those in same sex committed relationships from adopting simply because of their sexual orientation or the fact of being single.

No one has argued for the right to adopt children that I aware of. In fact no one has the right to adopt a child. They merely have the right to apply as people should be only able to adopt if they are suitable to provide a safe, secure, loving and nurturing environment to the particular child. The greatest challenge to traditional marriage is the attitude of some of those entering into it that it should come as easy as pie, when in truth all relationships require work and are all the more rewarding for it.'

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