The conviction of a gay couple who lived in Australia and the United States for trafficking their adopted surrogate baby and using him to make paedophile pornography ought to provoke questions about the wisdom of same-sex adoption and marriage.
Mark J. Newton, 42, American-born, but an Australian citizen, and his long-term partner Peter Truong, 36, an Australian, were arrested in Los Angeles in 2011. The facts of the case, which was tried in Indiana, have just emerged after Newton was sentenced to 40 years last Friday. Truong is awaiting sentencing.
The abuse was so appalling that the case was tried at a district court level to avoid subjecting a jury to the repellent images.
The long-awaited decisions by the US Supreme Court relating to two marriage cases have finally been set down, striking down DOMA and deciding that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to appeal (that is, the court didn’t rule on Proposition 8).
It is worth reading the rulings on the DOMA and the Proposition 8 cases, as there are a lot of interesting points raised in both rulings, especially by Justice Roberts.
So what does this mean for the marriage debate in the US? It will likely be some time before detailed analysis about the rulings and the extent of their consequences is available.
But in the meantime there is an obvious but important principle to be noted: the pros and cons of redefining marriage itself are unchanged by the ruling.
A new study done by the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, has concluded that children born to surrogate mothers have more emotional difficulties than those carried by their biological mothers.
The study found that children born through surrogacy are more at risk of having adjustment difficulties, such as antisocial behaviour, anxiety, and depression. This has numerous ethical implications, not least for the same-sex marriage and parenting debate.
Surrogacy is an essential aspect of male same-sex couples having children, and necessarily results in a child being taken away from its biological mother, with all the negative implications for the child that this entails.
The transformation of the law to redefine the meaning of marriage will be bad for marriage, bad for children, and very bad indeed for those people of faith who want to maintain their faith’s teaching on marriage, in their religious institutions and in their work. The preservation of meaningful religious liberty, it turns out, is inseparable from the preservation, in our legal order, of the truth about marriage. They stand or fall together.
There is noshortage of cases to suggest that freedom of religion will be threatened by redefining marriage.
With Father’s Day being celebrated this weekend in the US, Bradford Wilcox has a very relevant and timely piece at The National Review Happy Fatherless Day. He highlights the importance of fatherhood and the social cost of fatherless families:
In our public conversation about how best to accommodate today’s family diversity, what usually goes unsaid is that fewer marriages also means fewer fathers in our nation’s homes.
That is because marriage is the institution that binds men to their children. There is no substitute. Cohabiting couples with children are much more likely to end up on the rocks than their married peers (even in Sweden). Divorced and never-married fathers often have difficulty getting or making the time to stay in regular contact with their children once the relationship with the mother of their child is over. By contrast,…
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In nearly every country where the issue of same-sex marriage is debated, the Catholic Church has been one of the staunchest defenders of the traditional definition of marriage. Here Dr Thomas Paprocki, the Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois, sets out the Church’s arguments elegantly and concisely. This speech was delivered on May 31 in Phoenix to a largely Catholic audience. It is well worth reading, even for non-Catholics, as the central argument is that marriage is a “pre-political” reality which was not invented by Christians or the State. (By MercatorNet standards, it is unusually long, but stick with it!)
The media and the same-sex marriage lobby tend to conveniently ignore the fact that many people with same-sex attraction oppose redefining marriage. This is because it completely undermines the general branding of defenders of traditional marriage as “homophobic bigots.”
Tom Geoghegan from BBC News has a very interesting article on his interviews with a range of people with same-sex attraction who nevertheless oppose redefining marriage. The reasons given are varied, but the telling factor is that they realise what the debate is about: the issue is not same-sex couples; the issue is marriage: what it is, and what its purpose is.
"It's demonstrably not the same as heterosexual marriage - the religious and social significance of a gay wedding ceremony simply isn't the same."
Christopher Pearson, a columnist for The Australian, speechwriter, and strong defender of traditional marriage, passed away on Friday.
Pearson (pictured above) had a very respected career both in journalism and in politics. He was a speech writer for former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and also an editor for current Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott.
Pearson wrote with great clarity on a wide range of political and social issues in The Australian, including those relating to marriage and the family.
I remember back in November 2010 reading his piece Gay marriage demands should be left on shelf. At the time, this was the first really clear article on marriage that I had read, and certainly helped to reshape my view of the same-sex marriage debate, an issue which I didn’t have any particular interest in.
The interim report of recent research, the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) based in Melbourne University, has found no statistical difference between children of same-sex couples and the rest of the population on a range of indicators, and also found that children of same-sex couples did better than average for overall family cohesion and health.
This study has been uncritically reported by the media in Australia, and has also been picked up by news outlets such as the Huffington Post overseas. But how reliable is it really?
Sociologist from the University of Texas, Mark Regnerus, has pointed out many of the flaws in the study at the National Review. First, he quotes from the study’s methodology: