By Louis DeSerres
Imagine a sports competition opposing professional athletes against
children, who don’t even know there is a game being played.
In the same-sex marriage “game,” adults are busily seeking to expand
“their constitutional rights” while children are not even aware that the
rights they have are being undermined. We all aspire to live in a fair
world, but is this fair for children?
Nature has been incredibly efficient at making sure that every child has
both a mother and a father. International human rights documents, such as
the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), confirm the child’s
fundamental right to know and be raised by his or her father and mother
whenever possible. Even the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human
Rights lays out important human rights for children that are being
undermined by governments and courts.
When judges and legislators legalize same-sex marriage, they are
unwittingly endorsing the purposeful creation of fatherless or motherless
children, and advocating the clear violation of the child’s rights. (In
circumstances recognized as exceptional, adoption is meant to give a new
family to a child and is based on the best interests of the child.)
Marriage extends the bond between the child and the father and mother
through the commitment of both parents to each other, thus increasing
permanence in the child’s relationship with his parents. The child thus
benefits from having the same biological, legal and care giving parents.
Same-sex marriage is different. It pits the desires of adults against
the biological origins of the child, who is either deprived of a father
(through anonymous sperm donation) or a mother (through egg donation and/or
surrogacy). Furthermore, the same-sex marriage family structure legally and
physically separates the child’s biological parents — usually placing one
inside the marriage while keeping the other one outside the child’s family.
This tension between biological and non-biological parents is leading
advocates of same-sex marriage to seek, through court actions, to increase
the number of legally-recognized parents. Some children will have three or
more parents thrust upon them by these courts. As more adults are involved,
the opportunities for conflict increase, the abandonment of parental
responsibilities is facilitated and, when the adults disagree, the courts
become increasingly solicited to try to disentangle the complicated
relationships that are affecting these children.
“Whenever we change marriage, we are also changing parenthood.” So
writes David Blankenhorn in his recent book “The Future of Marriage.”
The bonding rights of children to their parents are largely reciprocal
rights. For example, the internationally-recognized right of parents to
raise their children is largely reciprocal to the right of a child to know
and be raised by his parents. If we allow children’s rights to be weakened
or denied by same-sex marriage, the reciprocal parental rights will also be
weakened. On the other hand, strengthening the bonding rights of children
to their biological parents should strengthen parental rights towards their
When Canada’s Parliament legalized same-sex marriage, it not only
violated children’s rights, it clearly understood the implied violation of
the natural order. To “fix this problem,” Parliament redefined parenthood,
replacing the concept of biological or natural parent with that of “legal”
parent. With one stroke of the pen, it reduced the status of every parent
in Canada to that of a “legal” parent, weakening parental rights for all.
While Canada has taken explicit legislative action, the absence of such
legal redefinition of parenthood in other jurisdictions does not make the
problems go away. Dealing mostly with same-sex families at the moment, the
courts are increasingly being asked to rule on “who is a parent,” with
clear implications for any parent regardless of family structure.
In a recent United Kingdom court case, two young girls were removed from
their biological mother, after she violated a visitation order and moved to
another part of the country, and given to her former lesbian partner. The
judge said: “We have moved into a world where norms that seemed safe 20 or
more years ago no longer run. … But in the eyes of the child, the natural
parent may be a non-biological parent who, by virtue of long settled care,
has become the child’s psychological parent.”
The problem with this new concept of “psychological parent” is twofold:
it trivializes the biological bond and it fails to ensure the permanence in
the ongoing relationship between parent and child that are provided by
either marriage or adoption. With similar rulings now appearing in U.S. courts giving “psychological” parents precedence over biological parents, it is easy to see that parental
rights are being seriously eroded. Same-sex marriage (and parenting),
de-linked from the biological origins of the child, is causing an erosion
of the reciprocal rights of parents and children in relation to each other.
In summary, it is vital to protect the child’s natural birthright to
know and be raised by his or her father and mother. Additionally,
protecting the child’s bonding rights to his or her parents actually
strengthens parental rights, thus creating a win-win situation for all:
parents, children and society.
Louis De Serres is a Montreal native and co-founder of Preserve Marriage — Protect Children’s Rights. This article appears in the newsletter of United Families International.