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Thursday 10 November 2016

Stealing from a child

Posted in: Books
By Craig Young - 3rd October 2016

Stealing From a Child: The
Injustice of Same-Sex Marriage
David Van Gend
Connor Court, 2016

Dr David Van Gend is a fundamentalist rural Queensland doctor who lives in Toowoomba, one of the most backward rural centres in Queensland and a hotbed of right-wing extremism in that Australian state for many years. So, what does this book have to say? Not too much that is original.

One wonders why the Australian Christian Right isn't simply importing remaindered material against marriage equality from the United States, to help out the ailing and heavily indebted US National Organisation for Marriage, as New Zealand fundamentalist bookstores did during the civil union debate, which helped no end in rehearsing arguments for marriage equality that ended up becoming highly useful a mere eight years later when New Zealand's own marriage equality debate occurred. Oddly enough, though, Australian Christian Right books against marriage equality don't turn up on New Zealand fundamentalist bookstore shelves. I've had to send money to my parents over in Brisbane to get my hands on this material.

So, who is this character and what are his affiliations? Van Gend is Queensland director of Doctors Who Respect Human Life (an anti-abortion medical group) and also involved with the "Australian Marriage Forum", which is a coalition of Australian Christian Right organisations opposed to marriage equality. Don't quote me on the publisher, because apparently they decided to relinquish the property once they found out about the content. And as for that content...van Gend has quaint ideas about the 'essential' nature of straight married parents to the successful rearing of children. Except that Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz found that same-sex parenting has little effect on the educational outcomes of children of lesbians and gay men, that partners and parents have excellent interpersonal communication skills in this context, that boys raised in such contexts actually communicate with women better and girls grow up to be independent, capable women in non-traditional employment. It's the same old cherry picked nonsense from sub-cultural luminaries insofar as claims against same-sex parenting go, I'm afraid, but what would you expect? Mark Regnerus gets a look in, as one might expect, even given the thorough drubbing his hatchet job received over here, for instance.

And then there's the anti-transgender crusade. Australia is financing campaigns to upset the time-hallowed 'essential', polarised and complementary categories of male and female in the interests of... transgender child and adolescent health and safety at school. Never mind that the Vatican only came up with its current dogma that hormone treatment and reassignment surgery are forbidden to 'faithful' Catholics a mere decade ago, when Dr Paul McHugh acted as a 'consultant' to the Vatican on that issue. Never mind, too, that this sectarian religious natural law philosophy is just that and fails the tests of meaningful religious freedom and faith/state separation that are conducive to healthy, diverse civil liberties, human rights and democratic institutions.

The only injustice in the marriage equality debate is the continuing discriminatory denial of civil marriage equality to Australian LGBT partnerships and derogatory, destructive calumnies against LGBT parents of children who will be exposed to this hyperbole and pseudo-scientific nonsense. As for claims that conservative Christians are being 'victimised' by any impending introduction of marriage equality across the Tasman, might I point out that New Zealand has had marriage equality for the last three years and there have been no recriminations against Family First or fundamentalists employed in secular occupations, or accommodation providers. And don't forget homeless and impoverished Australians who could do with the millions of dollars that the Coalition shamelessly intends to lavish on these unrepresentative Australian Christian Right pressure groups.

Too bad if your nanna needs a hip replacement, 'family values' comes first. Er, what was that about 'stealing' again?! Come to think of it, what was that about 'families'?!

-Craig Young

Not Recommended:

Australian Marriage Forum:

Craig Young - 3rd October 2016

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