Even if the Victorian government considers it right to allow same-sex adoption, it shouldn’t force everyone to put its views into practice.
Premier Daniel Andrews in a recent radio interview told host Neil Mitchell that planned protests over the construction of a mosque in Bendigo were outrageous.
“Fancy having a protest against ordinary, hard-working people because of what they believe in their faith,” he said. “This is a secular country, we are a multi-faith, multicultural state. This diversity is our greatest asset. I will always speak out for that, I will always stand up for it.”
But it seems the Premier will “always” stand up for multi-faith, multicultural diversity only if the diversity is the sort he likes.
Many faiths and cultures (eg Jewish, Christian, Muslim) believe and practise that children should be raised by their biological mother and father and, if that is not possible, raised by a woman and a man who will act as their mother and father. Orthodox versions of those faiths would not consider same-sex adoption because they believe what centuries of human experience bear out: that on average children do better being parented by both a mother and a father.
The Victorian government thinks otherwise and has introduced a bill to allow adoption by same-sex couples. This would allow adoption of children with whom neither member of the same-sex couple has any biological connection, as well as adoptions of the biological child of one partner by the other partner.
You may agree or disagree with the government’s proposal. The Department of Human Services and some private adoption agencies will be happy to co-operate and facilitate adoption of children by same-sex couples. The Catholic adoption agency won’t.
But we could all agree to disagree and respect each other’s positions. Same-sex couples could use the government agency and the agencies who don’t have any objection, while faith-based adoption agencies could stay true to their faith and culture by not offering same-sex adoption – right?
Well, no. The government isn’t giving faith-based adoption organisations the choice to practise their faith. The bill goes out of its way to change the anti-discrimination law to remove the freedom of religious organisations to act in accordance with the doctrines, practices and beliefs of the religion.
Faith-based adoption agencies and their individual employees will be forced to act contrary to their faith and culture or either lose an expensive discrimination lawsuit or shut their doors. And birth parents giving a child up for adoption will have no right to prefer that the child is raised by an adoptive mother and father.
NSW has shown the way on this by accommodating same-sex couples and those with a religious or conscientious objection. NSW introduced same-sex adoption but preserved the rights of faith-based adoption agencies and their employees and birth parents to not get involved in same-sex adoption if that was contrary to their religion or conscience.
No same-sex couple has been unable to access an adoption service in NSW.
Same-sex adoption is controversial. But even if the government considers it right to allow it, the government has no compelling interest to force everyone to agree with its views and put them into practice regardless of faith, culture or conscience. That is trampling on, not celebrating or defending, Victoria’s multi-faith and multicultural diversity.
Our greatest asset of diversity is being trashed by politically correct totalitarianism. If the government won’t change its mind, this bill should get short shrift in the upper house.
Dan Flynn is Victorian director, Australian Christian Lobby and a member of Victoria’s Inter Faith Ad Hoc Committee.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/daniel-andrews-backs-diversity-but-not-for-believers-who-shun-samesex-parenting-20151020-gkdgvp.html#ixzz3pCPNz4T7
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