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The Iona Blog

Ireland a step closer to rejecting the value of motherhood and fatherhood

Author: David Quinn
Date: April 15, 2013

When the Constitutional Convention voted in favour of same-sex marriage at the weekend, Ireland took a step closer to rejecting the right of a child to have the love of both a mother and a father where such are available.

The Convention heard a great deal about the love two men or two women can have for one another and the legal benefits they cannot access because they cannot get married.

It spent less time discussing the distinct and complementary roles of men and women as mothers and fathers and when it did discuss the matter, took the view that the roles are not distinct and complementary at all.

By logical extension it also took the view that the natural ties don’t matter either. It will always be the case that any child raised by a same-sex couple will be raised by only one of its biological parents.

Therefore, if same-sex couples have the same rights as opposite-sex couples to have children, then we must treat the natural ties as being unimportant as well.

This flies in the face of all evidence. We know, for example, that adopted children often go looking for their natural parents in later life.

We know from the evidence that all other things being equal, the best environment for a child is to be raised by their own biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.

We do not know from the available evidence whether children will suffer by comparison if raised by a same-sex couple because the available evidence suffers from serious methodological flaws.

We can therefore only base decisions on what we know, and what we know is that the natural ties do matter and that the roles of mothers and fathers are distinct and complementary. (For more on this, see here)

But the Convention, in its rush to be ‘tolerant’ has rejected this evidence and has thereby brought Ireland closer to the day when it will turn its back on the notion that a child has a right to a father’s love and a mother’s love.

This willingness to declare that motherhood and fatherhood have no special value is being led by our politicians who made up a third of the delegates at the weekend.

One of those politicians was Children’s Minister, Frances Fitzgerald. It is truly an astonishing turn of events when a minister for children is willing to sign away a child’s right to be raised by a mother and a father.

(David Quinn, who addressed the Convention, wrote about it in his column in The Irish Independent last Friday. The column can be found here)

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