April 19, 2015
As the Andrews government considers using the law to abolish the idea that a mother and father matter to a child, voices of people raised by same-sex-attracted people are starting to be heard.
Heather Barwick, a former gay-marriage advocate turned children’s rights activist, was raised by two women.
While she loved both and grew up in a stable environment, she now believes that children need to grow up within traditional families.
The void that having two carers of the same sex was unable to fill led her to believe that, “the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by both their mother and father.
“My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mum’s partner, but another mum could never have replaced the father I lost.”
Barwick laments that children of same-sex parents have not been given the same voice as children of divorced parents, who are allowed and encouraged to express their hurt and pain.
The current Adoption Act permits adoption to be in favour of a man and woman who are either married or in a de facto relationship.
Gay adoption focuses on the rights of same-sex couples and neglects the rights of the children up for adoption; those who so far, have not had their voices heard.
The Australian Christian Lobby’s call for the current law to be maintained is a bid to give voice to the countless number of children that are unable to articulate and exercise their rights to a mother and father.
Allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt is likely to have adverse affects on Victorian faith-based agencies like CatholicCare, who after declining to provide adoption services to same-sex couples may be sued or forced to close down. Exaggerating? Such intolerance has resulted in Catholic Charities closing its adoption services in Massachusetts and Illinois in the US.
In Victoria, a state that prides itself on diversity, agencies with religious foundations should have the right to continue to provide adoption services for children needing a home.
Additionally, the rights of birth parents should be taken into consideration. Birth parents should be allowed to request that their child be adopted into a family with say “a Catholic mum and dad”.
At the very heart of adoption is a desire to give children the best possible environment within which they can grow and develop. Adoption is about the rights and best interests of the child. Adult desires need to take a back seat.
Heather Barwick isn’t the only one that has experienced hurt because of a missing father or mother.
Domenico Dolce of designer fashion label Dolce & Gabbana has recently spoken out in support of traditional families. Despite being openly gay, Dolce stated this year in an interview with Italian magazine Panorama: “It’s not us who created the family. You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be.”
After this statement, there was an influx of support from children raised by same-sex couples. One published letter from six Americans raised by homosexual parents thanked the designer for speaking out and pleaded with him to “support the idea that all children need to be bonded with their mothers and fathers” as it is “a human right”. We cannot let the best interests of the child be overlooked and overshadowed by the voices of adults, no matter how heart-felt, in favour of same-sex adoption.
We owe that to the next generation of children.
Dan Flynn is Victorian Director, Australian Christian Lobby