Prominent human rights lawyer and Jesuit priest Father Frank Brennan has used a Lent address to attack same-sex parenting — warning that science will soon be able to create children who are biologically linked to both their same-sex parents.

“We are just around the corner from scientists being able to produce a child from the genetic material of two ova or two sperm,” Brennan said.

Brennan also used the address to oppose same-sex marriage, and compared the issue of same-sex parenting to the Stolen Generations and victims of forced adoptions.

“I think the state still has an interest in preferencing a social institution which maximises the possibility of children being nurtured by their known biological mother and their known biological father,” Brennan said.

“The state should proceed slowly in this field. We should have learnt some lessons from the Stolen Generations and those who were adopted out contrary to their parents’ wishes.

“I would support the recognition of civil unions now, but I would want to reserve consideration of same-sex marriage until the majority of those who are married (and not just the young) favour it, and until we have dealt with the complex issues of parenting children produced from the genetic material of two men only or two women only.”

Brennan also cautioned that using religious definitions of marriage in expressing opposition to same-sex marriage would be unhelpful for opponents.

“We need to distinguish between moral teaching and pastoral advice offered our co-religionists and reasoned advocacy for laws and public policy applicable to all persons,” Brennan said.

“On the issue of civil recognition of same-sex unions, it is not appropriate in the public square simply to agitate about the Catholic view of the sacramentality of marriage.”

Brennan gave the address on March 13 and 14 at churches in Adelaide and rural South Australia.

Brennan is a professor of law at the Australian Catholic University and was appointed chairman of the Australian Government’s National Human Rights Consultation Committee in 2009.

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