Many readers will have been impressed by the stirring words of Liberal backbencher Stuart Robert last week during debate over the Rudd Government’s Same-Sex Entitlements Bill.
[This Bill] seeks to make the lifestyle choice of homosexuality equal to the time-honoured mum and dad as the basis of parenthood, Robert told Parliament. Many single mums and dads in this nation do an outstanding job and they all are to be commended. Yet, despite it all, children ostensibly need a mum and a dad.
Sorry, Mr Robert, but if a single mother or father is not just tolerable, but outstanding and commendable in your book, then two mothers or two fathers should be doubly so.
And how bad a job could we do when half the heterosexual single parents in this country are unemployed and, according to former Australian of the Year and parenting expert Fiona Stanley, one in five straights aren’t even fit to be parents in the first place?
There are a multitude of reasons why irresponsible heterosexuals bring children into the world. Sometimes it’s a cynical grab for increased welfare payments. Sometimes it’s to trap a partner in a rocky relationship. Sometimes it’s because of pressure from relatives, or because all their friends are doing it, or because having a child is just what people do.
Sometimes it’s done out of sheer boredom and loneliness, and I cringe when I hear people say they want to raise a child to correct the mistakes of their own broken childhoods when the cyclical nature of neglect and abuse is so well documented.
Personally I have zero interest in becoming a parent, not just because this planet is vastly overpopulated but because my own damaged childhood left me without the skill set required to be a parent and I’m honest enough to admit that to myself.
There certainly are GLBT people who’d make unfit parents, but their unsuitability is for reasons other than sexuality and these fickle or unstable gays and lesbians will be deterred when they realise the considerable bureaucratic and financial hurdles associated with having a rainbow family that will remain after these reforms have passed.
But many more of us do and will make outstanding parents, and no amount of stereotyping and scorn from Robert is going to change that. In comparison, all irresponsible heterosexuals need do to bring a child into this world is forget to wear a condom.
Expect more of the same from the new Member for Fadden, who mentioned Christianity a whopping seven times in his maiden speech to Parliament earlier this year. Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis may be right when he says that obstacles to reform during the Howard years are no longer in the parliament but some of their ilk have replaced them.