Opposition to gay adoption in New South Wales

On 14 July 2010, Greg Donnelly, Government Whip in the NSW Parliament, wrote an article for The Punch in which he stated that the best interests and wellbeing of a child is best protected when that child is “raised by a woman and a man, a mother and a father in a permanent relationship” (preferably married). This principle is, in his opinion, “underpinned by that profound bond that exists between a child and a mother and a father”.

With respect, Mr Donnelly, your contention is nonsense.

Mr Donnelly, and many others like him, is opposed to people in a same-sex relationship being able to adopt a child, whether or not there is any biological connection with that child, thereby doing the unthinkable of “placing homosexual couples on an equal footing with heterosexual couples”. In 2008 the Australian Government made legislative changes to remove the discrimination against same-sex couples. Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, seems to be aiming for the same result with her Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2010.

Mr Donnelly is entitled to his opinion, of course, but I think he’s being more than a little old fashioned. I am not convinced that a child who has both a mother and a father (as opposed to two mothers or two fathers) will obtain any greater benefit over a child who does not. I’m a believer of function over form; that mothers are important and fathers are important. Not because of their gender but because of who they are as people.

But I’m not a parent so what would I know?

I was, however, a child. And I really don’t think being a child of a same-sex couple would have disadvantaged me at all (other than the teasing I would have copped at school, but I got teased for other reasons anyway).

Mr Donnelly urges his fellow citizens of NSW speak up in opposition to the proposed amendments because children have not been asked whether they want “to be raised by two mothers or two fathers as opposed to a mother and a father”, because the drivers of this change are same-sex couples. Well of course it’s not being driven by the children! This is adult-oriented legislation designed to improve the rights of adults, to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. The rights of children are second place at this point in time, as they should be; this is not about them. The rights and interests of children should properly be considered during an assessment of the proposed parents’ suitability to adopt.

Provided they’re loved and cared for, I’d hazard a guess that most children these days probably wouldn’t really give a damn about their parents’ sexual orientation. And neither should Mr Donnelly.

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