Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
February 8, 1999
Pop that trial balloon
The federal government's trial balloon suggesting that it may introduce legislation to give homosexual relationships many of the same legal rights as those now possessed by married couples is one that should be popped immediately. The idea floated anonymously out of federal government circles last month after a gay rights group, the Foundation for Equal Families, launched a legal challenge to 58 federal laws.
The foundation wants survivor and other benefits provided under laws such as the Canada Pension Plan Act, Old Age Security Act and War Veterans Allowance Act to be extended to those in homosexual relationships. And the suggestion from Ottawa is that, rather than go through a long and costly legal battle, the government may just give homosexual rights advocates what they want.
The results of such acquiescence will be far costlier and much longer lasting than any court battle. It will further undermine the respect due to the family and further obscure the reason why such benefits were granted in the first place. And it would be another step toward the recognition of homosexual "marriages."
Some proponents of these "rights" may deny this. But over and over we see incremental changes advancing a gay rights agenda being defended as though nothing further were planned. And then we soon see the next step. We were asked to ban discrimination against homosexuals in housing and employment as if it were only fair. We were asked to allow into schools children's books depicting children living with homosexual couples as a way of promoting acceptance of children who do in fact live in such situations. Some companies have granted pension and medical benefits to homosexual couples. So, we are told, governments should do the same.
Next we will see a push to allow gay adoptions and gay "marriages." All opposition to such moves will be portrayed as intolerant, backward and homophobic.
Bob Gallagher, co-founder of the Foundation for Equal Families, says of the current legal battle: "We've actually won the basic principles (already). The courts have granted that." Indeed, he is likely right and the foundation may well win its case in court.
But it shouldn't. Pension, medical and other benefits were granted to heterosexual couples for a good reason - those relationships have the capacity for procreation. Society supports couples because it believes the two become one flesh and, in becoming one, give birth to the future of humanity. It believes the procreation, nurturing and education of children is of inestimable value.
Marriage is good not only for the two people who enter the relationship, but also for children and society. If marriage was solely for the good of the couple, there would be no basis for the wide range of benefits that governments have bestowed on married couples.
But in recent decades, our focus has become increasingly narrow. Paradoxically, we see fertility as an option for couples and children as things all are entitled to possess. We care more about individual rights and less about the common good. We are more casual about sex and more casual about those persons who are the natural consequence of heterosexual sex.
Gallagher may be more right than he intended. The basic principles for the demolition of the heterosexual family as society's sovereign community are already fairly well in place. But that doesn't mean we should accept such a trend. As a society, we've made mistakes, mistakes which we should seek to reverse, not build upon.
That does not mean we should discriminate against homosexuals. We shouldn't. What it does mean is that we should resist efforts to have gay relationships treated as morally acceptable. We should strive, rather, to have sexuality presented as a gift of love which should be given only within the context of heterosexual marriage. We should also strive to protect those legal rights designed to help married couples in raising their children
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