Countries that have already legalised same-sex marriage are seeing the direct consequences in laws, culture, and society. Canada, one of the first countries in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, is now facing a removal of the of the terms “mother” and “father” from its law, courtesy of Bill 28 (the “All Families Are Equal Act 2016”) which is now before the Ontario government.
If passed, the All Families Are Equal Act 2016 would remove the terms “mother” and “father” from the law, requiring all birth certificates to refer to the non-gendered term “parent,” while simultaneously raising the legal number of parents to four. Hence, every single child could have up to four “legal” parents.
As outlined in Convivium Magazine, supporters of the bill are claiming it is a matter of “equality” for same-sex couples. Yet, supporters fail to examine what this does to the person most affected by the Bill - the child.
Supporters of the bill say this is about equality for gay and lesbian families, who by default, when they conceive children, must involve another person of the opposite sex. Adopting their own children would be something akin to what heterosexual step-parents needed to do: paperwork and forms when a family comes together. Though this is a real difficulty, it’s one that might be better facilitated by reducing obstacles to adoption rather than Bill 28’s sweeping approach. Here’s the thing: equality for adults is not the only factor to consider. We need to ask whether facilitating up to four legal parents is fair to children.
Bill 28 would effectively disintegrate any remaining legal respect for heterosexual parents and the family. In raising the legal number of people who can claim parental rights of a child, it moves the care of children from the protected domain of a mother and father into the realm of up to four adults in any type of relationship (to each other and to the child). It changes a birth certificate from being an identity document for the child to a description of the emotional relationship of the four “parents,” directly supplanting the well-being of children to pander to the preferences of a subgroup of adults:
Bill 28 codifies the commodification of children. We have been moving in this direction for a while, with the separation of having children from the sexual act, the introduction of a third party’s parts and the use of surrogates (whether or not they are paid). When parents had children in a relationship, and cared for them, too, the children knew where they came from. Bill 28 does not provide for a registration of who the biological parents actually are, leaving children with an existential crisis of never knowing where they came from as a matter of routine.
There are many other questions: Why only four? This is not a sarcastic question. Polygamous and polyamorous families can and do include more—Bill 28 would appear to legally recognize both kinds of families (so long as they have four parents or fewer) without these special interest groups even needing to fight for it. There are those who desire family and marriage to legally be whatever individuals want it to be. Once we change the traditional number, any new limit is entirely arbitrary and open to change.
Canada is setting a clear example: legalising same-sex marriage opens the floodgates for all aspects of the family, parenting, relationships, and children’s rights to be questioned, erased, and rewritten. It also enables dissenting opinions to be silenced through legal means and fear tactics:
The calls of homophobia for those who express concern about Bill 28 are as tiresome as they are predictable. This is what people say when they don’t have an argument. Unfortunately, these accusations often succeed in silencing speech and debate. Many Canadians today are scared—terrified in fact—to discuss these issues. We are rapidly losing the ability to debate in a civil manner.
[Someday] we will reach a point when a marriage is legally considered any number of people who desire to be in it for any length of time, no questions asked. At that point, marriage will cease to serve any important social, public function. We will have moved from fighting for marriage equality into passively accepting marriage irrelevancy.
Australians take heed: what is happening in Canada could easily happen to us if marriage is redefined. Marriage is just the tip of the iceberg. As Canada has discovered, changing marriage changes the family, and ultimately turns children into commodities. Get the facts: same-sex marriage brings with it drastic, far-reaching, and terrifying consequences.