Friday, 5 February 2010

Independent: Answers to President’s questions on the concept of family
[This letter was also published in the MaltaToday]
3.2.10 by Luke Buhagiar, Moviment Graffitti

Recently there have been many discussions and also a speech by the president about the concept of the family. Regarding the questions about same-sex couples which were posed by the president, Moviment Graffitti states that even unions between same-sex couples should be considered as families.

The concept of the family denotes a group of two or more individuals affiliated by high levels of intimacy and sharing, and usually but not necessarily, co-residence (these may include no children at all, children of the individuals and adopted children). Consequentially, this includes both heterosexual and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) couples since everyone, irrespective of their sexual orientation, has the right to form a family. Marriage is a human right and not a heterosexual privilege. Furthermore, the argument that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry because they cannot procreate is illogical since by the same reasoning, not even infertile couples should be allowed to marry.

Moviment Graffitti recognises the right of LGBT couples to marry and also adopt children of their own if they wish to do so. Regarding the latter, whether this would be ‘a natural family model for the children’ has already been established by numerous studies which concluded that parenting by LGBT couples is as good and valid as parenting by heterosexual couples. Even organisations such as the American Psychological Association have supported adoption by such couples. The APA views social prejudice as harming LGBT persons psychologically and has also clarified that there is absolutely no evidence that their parenting causes harm to the children. Besides, many children, even in Malta, are in need of homes and since parenting skills and abilities are unrelated to sexual orientation, the law should definitely allow LGBT couples to adopt children.

There are also those who argue that one of the reasons behind the illegality of adoption by LGBT couples is the protection of children from bullying. However, this argument also does not hold since in society there are numerous reasons why children and other vulnerable groups may be bullied or stigmatised. Society needs to protect all vulnerable groups in it. This does not justify the fact that LGBT adoption remains illegal. These are merely excuses to hide the fact that our society idealises the conventional nuclear family while devaluing family forms which do not fit the stereotypical ideal.

As regards to traditional and/or religious values about the family, Moviment Graffitti states that people obviously have the right to practise these values personally as long as these values do not harm and are not imposed on others. Even the rights of the minorities (in this case LGBT persons) must be protected in order for our society to really and truly be tolerant and inclusive. Not granting the above-mentioned basic rights to LGBT individuals is a form of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

No comments:

Post a Comment