Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers

Faith based bigotry discriminates against NSW same-sex families.

In Discrimination, Equality, Helping our community., Human Rights, Responses to the media, Uncategorized on September 1, 2010 at 12:27 PM

In what may be a yet proud day for Australian politics, arguably the first in quite awhile, Independent MP for Sydney, Clover Moore, is reintroducing a bill today to allow same-sex couples to adopt in the state of New South Wales. This sign of progress is shadowed however by the fact the bill now includes an amendment to allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to provide services to gay and lesbian couples without breaching anti-discrimination laws.

So anti-discrimination laws do not apply if the discrimination comes from a faith based group? As absurd as this may appear, sadly it seems Ms Moore may not have had much choice in the matter if she wants her bill to pass.

“While the amendments do not reflect my strong belief that there should be no exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act, the bill is so important to the security of families headed by same-sex couples that I cannot risk possible defeat.”

Opposition to the bill has come from two of the three government-accredited adoption agencies in NSW, Anglicare and CatholicCare, which have threatened to stop providing adoption services if they were forced to facilitate adoption by homosexual couples.

Unfortunately the pressure placed on our democratically elected representatives by minority faith groups does not end there. A letter co-authored by the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell and the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, was sent to NSW MPs’ urging them to vote down the now ammended bill.

The Anglican Church League website advises

“The NSW Council of Churches is sponsoring a Public Meeting of concerned citizens opposed to this bill.”

The meeting featured such guest speakers including Hon (sic) David Clarke of the Liberal Party, and Rev Hon (sic) Fred Nile of the Christian Democratic Party . Promotional material pleaded followers to attend with the message

“Please join us to make a statement of concern for the sake of the children!”

The Sydney Morning Herald tells us

“As two women knelt in the aisle to pray, Mr Clarke declared there were leaders across the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths who opposed the legislation.”

Reverend Nile told the rally that the bill could result in mothers being reluctant to put their babies up for adoption.

”Mothers who put up their babies for adoption believe their baby should be adopted by a married couple, a mother and a father,”

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has also urged NSW parliamentarians to reject the same-sex adoption bill, saying that it goes against the best interests of the children. They claim

“it goes against the best interests of the children who as a consequence will miss out on the love and role models of both a mother and a father.”

Perhaps most appalling of all this religious bigotry, is the assertion by New South Wales Upper House Liberal MP David Clarke that:

This has nothing to do with religion. This is about morality and this is about the rights of children. That’s what it’s about.”

Clearly. If this is not a religious issue, then why are faith groups exclusively so involved in forcing public policy and debate? What then is the basis for such upset if not from a dogmatic interpretation of scripture?

The leading authorities on such issues surely are those that actually take the time to objectively and dispassionately research such issues in order to ascertain publicly verifiable evidence of potential harms to children of same sex families.

Well such research has been conducted worldwide over the years, for example The Australian Psychological Society (APS) produced a paper in 2007 which concluded:

“The research indicates that parenting practices and children’s outcomes in families parented by lesbian and gay parents are likely to be at least as favourable as those in families of heterosexual parents, despite the reality that considerable legal discrimination and inequity remain significant challenges for these families. Of particular importance, this review has provided information that can assist psychologists to take an informed approach to some of the important debates that will continue to arise in Australia, as people in same-sex parented families and others advocate the removal of the remaining discrimination in laws, public policies, and social attitudes. Like many other expert and professional bodies, the APS is committed to contributing the knowledge of psychology in the public interest, and to fostering a social environment in which all children and their families experience support, recognition, and are valued, and in which discrimination and prejudice have no place.”

The Canadian Psychological Association in a brief presented to that country’s House of Commons, stated:

“Further, the available scientific evidence indicates that children of gay and lesbian parents do not differ significantly from the children of heterosexual parents with regard to psychosocial and gender development and identity.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) have issued the following statement:

“Psychological research on relationships and couples provides no evidence to justify discrimination against same-sex couples. The working group members cited research that many gay men and lesbians both want and have committed relationships: Studies have found that between 40 and 60 percent of gay men and between 45 and 80 percent of lesbians are involved in committed relationships.”

The Peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, aptly named ‘Pediatrics’ published an article titled ‘US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents’. The article concludes

“Adolescents who have been reared in lesbian-mother families since birth demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment. These findings have implications for the clinical care of adolescents and for pediatricians who are consulted on matters that pertain to same-sex parenting.”

It should be noted that the American Psychiatric Association represents 38,000 physician leaders in mental health. They have this to say:

“Numerous studies over the last three decades consistently demonstrate that children raised by gay or lesbian parents exhibit the same level of emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as children raised by heterosexual parents. This research indicates that optimal development for children is based not on the sexual orientation of the parents, but on stable attachments to committed and nurturing adults. The research also shows that children who have two parents, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientations, do better than children with only one parent.”

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has echoed what many other studies have suggested, namely that the greatest threat for children of same-sex families is the bigotry of ill informed members of the public:

“Although research shows that children with gay and lesbian parents are as well adjusted as children with heterosexual parents, they can face some additional challenges. Some LGBT families face discrimination in their communities and children may be teased or bullied by peers.”

My point in sharing just some of the copious amounts of quality research on this topic, is to question the Hon (sic) David Clarke’s assersion that

“This has nothing to do with religion. This is about morality and this is about the rights of children. That’s what it’s about.”

Were this truly the case, then I’d suggest to all involved to take the time to review the literature, rather than simply proselytizing, for if such self righteous bigotry comes not from scripture, then where?
Surely not from any evidentiary basis, yet Australian citizens are being discriminated against for the fallacious opinions of Mr Clarke, Mr Nile, government-accredited adoption agencies Anglicare and CatholicCare, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, the NSW Council of Churches and the Australian Christian Lobby, and their equally ill informed breathern.

If you would like to show your support for this bill, let your voice be heard by emailing New South Wales members of parliment. Each members email address can be found in our previous post on this topic here:

Please feel free to join me in contacting Mr Clarke via his website in order to seek clarification on how exactly this is not about his religion.

Jayson D Cooke

  1. Here are the email addresses for each NSW Member of Parliament: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  2. That’s a pretty thorough demolition Jayson!

    • Their rhetoric may work in a live format, but written down it’s easy for most to see it for exactly what it is, baseless fear mongering.

  3. This mornings headlines read: “Fred Nile caught in web porn scandal”.
    I did call for an examination of the literature before making ludicrous claims, however it seems I wasn’t clear enough on what ‘literature’ I meant.

  4. […] my previous post I did call for Rev Nile and his ilk to examine the literature before making ludicrous claims, […]

  5. […] issue arose in regard to a previous article detailing some organizations, groups and individuals actively opposing the introduction of a bill […]

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