Title: Ten bad "reasons" to oppose the CU Bill Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 1st July 2004 - 12:00pm1088640000 Article: 323 Rights
The fundamentalist Maxim Institute, the main driving force behind opposition to Civil Unions, has listed "ten good reasons" to oppose the Civil Union Bill, and presumably also the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill. How do they stack up? 1. “Maxim: It is not unjust to discriminate against people on the basis of marital status.” Tell that to black and white South Africans and inhabitants of the pre-Civil Rights era Deep South, who were forbidden to engage in interracial heterosexual marriages, folks. 2. “Maxim: Marriage is not a human right.” See the above, and anyway, what about the marital and family status grounds covered under our anti-discrimination legislation, as well as National Party-sponsored incremental relationship reforms during the nineties? 3. “Maxim: Civil Unions are about a complete redefinition of marriage.” How many times do we have to tell them? Civil union legislation is open to straights, lesbians and gay men alike. The Marriage Act 1955 is reserved for heterosexuals only (including post-operative transsexuals, although the Maxim Institute appears not to be aware about that.) And what about spousal rape law reform, back in 1982? Or domestic violence legislation? Or no-fault divorce under the Family Proceedings Act 1980? It could be argued that heterosexual marriage has undergone its fair share of redefinition beforehand. 4. “Maxim: Lesbian and gay relationships do not lead to procreation.” Right. And all heterosexual relationships are able to produce children, or wish to do so? Women past menopause should be forbidden to marry? Moreover, it's a little late to do anything about lesbian access to assisted reproductive technologies, which has existed here for the last decade. Why didn't they say anything about lesbian and gay fostering access either, when Steve Maharey opened it up? Sure, we need help, but so do some heterosexuals. 5. “Maxim: Marriage is a public good.” Not if it's abusive, violent and dysfunctional, it isn't. And guess who wants to eliminate no-fault divorce and interfere with women's escape from violent spousal relationships (that's right, them)? Moreover, what about the influence of other social institutions than the marriage-created, male dominated heterosexual family? 6. “Maxim: Sex alone doesn't lead to public good.” Uh huh. So you guys oppose heterosexual contraceptive access as well?? According to Cutting Edge author Joseph Budziszewski, contraception enables non-reproductive heterosexual relationships that aren't morally different from ours... 7. “Maxim: Educational curricula content and hate speech bans will be next.” These are completely separate issues. It is highly unlikely that any lesbian or gay man will want to teach at a fundamentalist Christian private school, let alone send our children to one of those places. As for hate speech, this is a completely separate issue. If the Christian Right wants to gibber onward about 'natural law' and use it to frame abstract theological arguments against homosexuality, let it go ahead. But let's not pretend that their proposed antigay pseudoscience is based on mainstream professional opinion, medical or social scientific evidence. It is not, and surely that should determine public school policy. (Does this one mean that Maxim wants to be free to preach hatred? Whatever happened to Christian compassion? -Ed.) 8. “Maxim: Civil unions remove choice from heterosexual couples through legislated equality.” How, exactly? Civil unions are open to heterosexuals who want that option, as much as lesbians and gay men. Heterosexual married couples will no longer have exclusive relationship and spousal-related legislative rights, but how does this amount to their 'choice,' rather than denial of choices to alternative spousal categories? 9. “Maxim: Marriage is about gender complimentarity.” Really? Ah, so that would include post-operative transsexuals, who have transitioned to the opposite sex to their partners, and two post-operative transsexuals who have transitioned to opposite sexes from their original ones could marry. Moreover, women don't necessarily want or choose to have children, or stay at home in unwaged labour, and nor do men necessarily want to be the breadwinner within modern heterosexual relationships. Isn't excessive gender role compliance as much of a problem, especially when it comes to reckless young male risktaking? And aren't most of these young males at risk brought up within heterosexual married nuclear families? 10. “Maxim: Heterosexual bonding is unique.” Adoption and step-parenthood don't offer that stability to children, and same-sex lesbian relationships lead to 'fatherless' children: Sorry, that isn't what Maxim said in their Care of Children Bill submission. There, they conceded that Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz' American Sociological Review article was a benchmark pro-gay social scientific study, and so, presumably, are its cited research findings. In that research, lesbian parents score well on communication with their offspring, particularly over health matters and emotional status and parental disciplinary sanctions. And what about findings that lesbian and gay parents don't exclude opposite sex siblings, grandparents or other kin figures from their children's lives, including any heterosexual ex-partners? Moreover, what about the antiabortionists, who have been pontificating about the virtue of adoption for years? Are you admitting that was all a massive fib now? And what about the high US fundamentalist divorce rate, family reformation and blended families? Are you saying that you're exempt from what you condemn? And also note that researchers Stacey and Biblarz warned about making assumptions from solo parent research that don't apply to dual parent lesbian and gay family structures. Some people just won't listen. Ten 'good reasons?" Or no 'reasons' at all? Recommended Rebuttals: Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" American Sociological Review 66:2 (April 2001): 159-183. Robert Wintemute and Mads Andaenaes (ed) Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Partnerships: Hart Publishing: Oxford: 2001. Unconvincing Antigay Objections: Maxim Institute- Ten "Reasons" to Oppose Civil Unions: Craig Young - 1st July 2004    
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