June 18th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Deregulation cause of dairy industry crisis

CANBERRA OBSERVED Double-dissolution election likely to deliver disillusionment

EDITORIAL Turnbull keeps his smile as all around lose theirs

LIFE ISSUES Infant viability fails to wake upper house interest

GLOBAL ECONOMY A generation left to twiddle its thumbs

LOCAL GOVERNMENT Amateur hour at the Brisbane City Council

EUTHANASIA Too quick a leap to counsel of despair

CULTURE WARS Australia Council cuts funding to Quadrant

SEXUAL POLITICS Gay "marriage" and the given in human procreative behaviour (Part 2)

FEDERAL ELECTION How to ensure your Senate vote goes all the way

PHILOSOPHY John Haldane holds true to faith-reason nexus

HISTORY The Chinese in Australia: not the story you've heard

MUSIC The times it takes to reach eternity

CINEMA Madcap adventures in the Kiwi bush: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

BOOK REVIEW The curate's egg

BOOK REVIEW That other great Irish prelate


 A day in the life of a religious white man from the point of view of evidence and truth

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Amateur hour at the Brisbane City Council

by Luke McCormack

News Weekly, June 18, 2016

In an embarrassing display of rainbow politics, Brisbane’s glorified roadworks board (aka the city council) passed a motion on May 17 supporting a change to Commonwealth marriage law that would include same-gender couples, polygamy (multiple wives), polyandry (multiple husbands) and any combination of adult groupings.

The motion put by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk read: “The council supports the legalisation of marriage between consenting adults regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity.”

We don’t know what possessed the Lord Mayor, who would normally spend his well-paid time attending to council matters, to stray into the complex field of regulating sexual unions. Just what expertise did Lord Mayor Quirk have in recommending changes to marriage law? Has the Mayor even read the 100-plus-page Marriage Act?

If he had studied the Marriage Act, he would have noticed that lawmakers have carefully included clauses that keep marriage a child-focused institution, as free as possible from coercion, deceit and duplicity, and reducing wherever possible the chances of children being harmed.

Faithful long-lasting relationships are good for adults of course but the reason for the norm of marriage (a permanent exclusive sexual union of one man and one woman) that appears across cultures and time, is to regulate, from a social point of view, the responsibilities and duties attendant upon creating children. That is, it’s about society regulating the power and ongoing consequences of fertility in human beings.

It is in the interests of the state and even of your local council that men commit to the mother of their biological children; that husbands stick around to raise, guide and provide for their children. Do children of divorce aspire to a future broken marriage for themselves?

Marriage specifies one man only and one woman only. This is not arbitrary. Unlike Mayor Quirk’s motion, law limits marriage to the two people required for procreation who are highly likely to be the biological parents of any subsequent children. This helps to ensure that children know and are raised by their real parents, not by unrelated adults.

Marriage is exclusive: no intruders or third parties thanks! Unlike the Brisbane City Council’s advice, our federal lawmakers were careful to ensure the stability and health of these sexual unions by excluding all others. This benefits the children of that marriage, who do not have to live under the authority of unrelated adults. It helps ensure that they are in fact the progeny of the wife and husband, promotes the stability of the household and avoids confusion or challenges to inheritance claims.

Perhaps it is needless to point out that we are all disqualified from marriage if we’re already married. Again, this is a safeguard for children of the existing marriages.

Australians are also disqualified if they are below 18 years of age, except in exceptional circumstances for 16 and 17 year olds if approved by a judge. This protects minors from coercion.

Contrary to the rhetoric of the “equality” lobby, all Australians are equal before our marriage law and we are all equally subject to the restrictions and qualifications listed in the Marriage Act.

There is no clause in our marriage law that discriminates against an individual based on how they perceive their gender identity or orientation. How you feel on the inside is your personal business; it’s subjective and does not belong in legislation.

It is not widely known or discussed but people who fall outside of standard heterosexual orientation can still be happily married to a person of the opposite sex.

Australia’s marriage law simply lays out the objective requirement for the institution; you can marry one person, of the complementary (opposite) sex, so on and so forth. In contrast the majority of Brisbane City Councilors have passed a motion that allows for open-ended group marriage.

Did the councilors who voted in favour have any idea of what they were supporting?

Yes, they did! In her speech against the motion, Councilor Owen pointed out, “This … advocates plurality in marriage, so we should not be under any confusion or misapprehension. Voting in support of the motion seeks to redefine marriage … to multiple consenting adults.”

Any assault on the careful provisions, requirements and restrictions in our marriage law will end up harming children.

Keep in mind that marriage, affirmed by United Nations charter, is a compound right to “marry and found a family”. If we redefine marriage to include same-gender couples we need to provide a means for two men or two women to “found a family”. Given this is biologically impossible, the exploitative surrogacy trade and stranger sperm donation becomes necessary.

This leads every time to children deliberately deprived of either their mother or their father or both.

Marriage is a law that heavily discriminates in favour of children by placing strong restrictive qualifications on its adult applicants. The Brisbane City Council would do best to stick to its job description and electoral mandates.

Luke McCormack is Queensland President of the National Civic Council.

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