Thursday, 7 July 2011

Independent: Same-sex marriage and women’s suffrage

Article published on 26 June 2011
by Jacqueline Calleja

In her article about homosexual marriages, Daphne Caruana Galizia compared the denial of these to the bygone mentality that precluded women from voting in political elections and from holding the same legal rights enjoyed by men (TMIS, 19 July). However, no such comparison is possible because even men, unless they owned property and had a certain amount of income, could not vote in most countries until the first quarter of the 20th century. Female suffrage followed a few decades later even here in Malta. The mentality behind the denial of voting rights for women had nothing to do with the ‘natural order of things’ but only with the cultural and social milieu of the time and the financial clout that men had and women did not have.

Homosexual marriages are in a different category altogether. To compare heterosexual and homosexual behaviour and marriage is to confuse reality since there are fundamental differences between the two that can never be bridged. In homosexual behaviour there is no sexual complementarily and no two homosexuals can ever produce a child between them. Indeed a town inhabited solely by homosexual couples is doomed to eventually die out while the contrary is true of one inhabited by heterosexual couples even if, among the latter, there might be some who, for one reason or another, are unable to have children.

There is something intrinsically contradictory in those who (and there are many) insist that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry but at the same time would deny these same couples the right to adopt children. It seems that, despite all the rhetoric, many are afraid to go the whole way and have serious doubts about allowing homosexual couples to adopt children.

On the other hand, those who believe that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry and also to adopt children a few questions need to be asked. At a time when so much lip service is paid to the rights of the most vulnerable in society, in this case children, why is it that these will be precluded by law from having a mother or a father? It is true that there are cases where children who, through certain unforeseen circumstances like the loss or separation of parents, are denied the joy of having a mother and father to look up to. But in the case of adoption by a homosexual couple, it is the law, which will deny them from ever having a father and mother even before they are born. Girls who have two homosexual men for parents will never be able to share with them things that mothers and daughters usually do. This also applies to boys who have two lesbians for mothers. Can the law deny a child the right to call one of the parents ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’? Is this the kind of exciting, progressive society we want our children to live in?

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