30 June 2005

Spain and Canada legalize Gay 'Marriage'

In what almost seems like a coordinated attack, both Spain and Canada have given the final legal push in overhauling their respective countries’ marriage laws. Canada’s House of Commons approved Bill C-38 on June 28, a decision that is still subject to approval by the Canadian Senate. And though the Senate is widely expected to confirm the bill, making gay marriage in Canada a virtual certainty, Spain by-passed the Canadians in a surprisingly easy vote a day later. Since Spain’s parliamentary vote is not subject to further political scrutiny, gay marriage became a reality as soon as the official vote was recorded. The Spanish law comes into effect on the day the parliamentary bulletin is published, by the beginning of next week.

These are troubling developments. We must be clear about the fact that gay people should not have the right to marry. The very word “marriage” means “life-long, monogamous union of one man and one woman.” No two men or two women can enter into such a union since they are lacking some of the prerequisites. The state has legitimate reasons to support the institution of marriage with special financial and social privileges, since only such relationships can produce and protect the foundation of society: the traditional family.

Such statements are not mere homophobia, though gay rights activists do not tire of accusing conservatives of it. In their eyes, gay people can only be loved if they are supported in all that they do. That is a ridiculous notion. The secular state should not have any laws that disadvantages private citizens—be they gay or straight—in what I would call “neutral situations.” These neutral situations include legal and financial affairs related to private property and medical next-of-kin rights. Even coercive legislation—such as the anti-sodomy laws struck down by the Supreme Court last year —has no legitimate basis in law or any Christian doctrine of the state.

Legislating morality can only go so far and should always be written in terms of general rights and common sense. The current attacks on traditional morality does not come from individual sexual or non-sexual practices by gay people, but rather from infiltrations and intimidation by organized groups of gays of public institutes, such as public schools, political parties and the court system. In this way, what in Christian terms are private sins and aberrances become public dangers. It is, therefore, on that level that politicians should engage the threat, by legislating common sense morality to protect those who are vulnerable, e.g. by keeping gay rights activism out of schools and setting general decency standards. After all, gay groups charge that they are unfairly singled out for discrimination, an allegation that would be bolstered by special anti-gay laws, such as anti-sodomy laws.

In the same way, the state does not have a duty to codify special rights for gays in non-neutral situations. Christians should have the right under secular law and do have the duty under God’s Law to tell gays that we disapprove of their lifestyle and that we believe it is harmful to them and those around them, without showing disrespect to individual gays. Since gay people, as a result of their confusion over their own sexual identity, cannot pattern healthy sexual identities to children, it should be clear that they should not be allowed to adopt children.

But that is exactly the kind of right now awarded in Spain and Canada. The Netherlands restricted adoption rights for gay couples from abroad, fearing that international adoption agencies would blacklist the country and so deprive also heterosexual couples of adoption from abroad. However, Spain has no such restrictions. It will be interesting to see whether gay rights activists in the Netherlands will now also push for lifting of the restrictions there.

One final note on the Spanish and Canadian votes is that both countries approved gay ‘marriage’ with rather large opposition. The Canadians voted 158 against 133, while the Spanish vote was 187 to 147. Both votes indicate that conservatives in both countries—including a strong Roman Catholic opposition in Spain—have enough clout to remain hopeful, unlike the Netherlands, where opposition to gay ‘marriage’ is minimal. Let us take lessons from these examples.

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