You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 16, 2013.

Wedding bands ehowcomOn Friday, April 12, 2013, France’s Senate passed legislation approving same-sex marriage. It now remains for their Parliament and Senate to debate and vote on the bill’s amendments.

France has had civil unions (PACS), also open to same-sex couples, for several years. However, the same-sex marriage law would codify other aspects of life as a couple, including adoption and assisted reproduction.

The proposed legislation has stimulated lively debate and demonstrations throughout the country. Whilst nearly two-thirds of French people do not mind same-sex marriage, the possibility of adoption and IVF in that context are more contentious.

Some French people have also been asking what the next marriage law will entail — and rightly so. What about polygamy? Bestiality? Incest?

British actor Jeremy Irons asked whether a man might someday be able to marry his adult son for favourable tax reasons. On April 3, 2013, he discussed this with Huffington Post presenter Josh Zepps. You can see the short video there; I was unable to embed it.

Irons, a modern Catholic, happily married to actress Sinéad Cusack since 1978, was careful to couch his language which wasn’t so much about same-sex couples per se as the evolution of laws relating to marriage and family — the same concerns the French have.

This is but one quote from the Irons interview:

Could a father not marry his son? … It’s not incest between men. Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don’t breed… If that were so, then if I wanted to pass on my estate without death duties, I could marry my son and pass on my estate to him.

I can see that happening, not immediately, but possibly within a decade or so. Denny Burk Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, points out that this is not an unrealistic eventuality. He cites a Harvard Law Review article from 2006 which discusses incest laws which have been repealed:

The criminal statutes vary widely; indeed, a few states impose no criminal penalties whatsoever on incestuous behavior. Rhode Island repealed its criminal incest statute in 1989, Ohio’s criminal statute targets only parental figures, and New Jersey does not punish acts committed when both parties are over eighteen years old. [source]

The other eventuality I see is the legalisation of polygamy in an effort to please European Muslims. Around ten years ago comments appeared on mainstream British fora suggesting that Britain’s Labour government had turned a blind eye to polygamous unions among obscurantist Muslims; with these went increased tax breaks as more dependents were involved. I haven’t seen any evidence for this, but it would not surprise me if it turned out to be true for tiny pockets of the population. Some mainstream Frenchmen also voice the same suspicions online; again, there is no firm evidence yet that this is occurring.

With regard to parenthood, the same-sex marriage debate has raised interesting legal points on the future of the family. In the United States, CNS reported on March 3, 2013, that the Department of Justice and the American Psychological Association find no evidence that heterosexual couples are necessary to raise children:

“As an initial matter, no sound basis exists for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriage are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child-rearing,” the Department of Justice told the court. “To the contrary, many leading medical, psychological, and social-welfare organizations have issued policy statements opposing restrictions on gay and lesbian parenting based on their conclusion, supported by numerous scientific studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.”

“The weight of the scientific literature strongly supports the view that same-sex parents are just as capable as opposite-sex parents,” says the administration.

To support this argument, one of the documents the administration cites is a “policy statement” by the American Psychological Association. This statement claims that some studies indicate same-sex parents might be “superior” to mother-and-father families, but then concedes there is little actual data on the results of raising children in two-father households. 

CNS pulls this together for us (emphases mine):

So far in the history of the human race, no child has ever been born without a biological father and mother. Now, in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Executive Branch of the federal government is arguing that, regardless of the biological facts of parenthood, states have no legitimate and defenisble interest in ensuring that children conceived by a mother and a father are in fact raised by mothers and fathers.

The brief that the Justice Department presented to the Supreme Court discussed children only as items controlled by others, not as individual human beings who have God-given rights of their own. It simply assumes that a child has no inherent right to a mother or father and that the only right truly in question is whether two people of the same-sex have a right to marry one another and that that right encompasses a right to adopt and foster-raise children.

To take this view and be consistent with the principles of the Declaration of Independence—which recognizes the ultimate authority of the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and says that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—the Obama Justice Department must advance the assumption that natural law and Nature’s God give children no right to a mother and father and no right not to be legally handed over by the government to be raised by same-sex couples.

Something to consider.

In the meantime, let us pray for the future of Western society.

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