Breda O’Brien writing in the Catholic Herald says…..that one of the main reasons that gay people want marriage rights is so that they can be registered as parents of children, either by adopting a partner’s children or by commissioning children through surrogacy, and/or egg or sperm donation.
No gay couple can bring children into their relationship without the assistance of at least one person of the opposite gender. This fundamental difference, with all the profound implications for children of being raised either without their mother, or their father, is supposed to be politely ignored so that adults can receive their ‘rights.’
This is an interesting if entirely flawed logic, the adoption/surrogacy/assisted reproduction industry has been providing children to straight, married couples since the inception of early adoption, gay people marrying will make no fundamental change to that position.
If Breda O’Brien was genuine about her care for the “implications for children” she would fight a completely different battle, she would challenge policies that keep people in poverty and lead vulnerable families into being coerced into adoption to “save their children”. She would fight for funds used to procure children from poorer countries to be used to keep babies with their mothers, she would fight to expose the practice of secret gamete donation so all children had full knowledge of their genetic heritage, she would recognise that society accepting that two gay people can love in the very same way as others is a good thing, that two gay people wanting to make a commitment to each other is a good thing, she would embrace the notion of tolerance and acceptance and she would be honest about why she is against gay marriage.
This is a much broader debate than two men or two women wanting to share their lives this is about one conservative section of society wanting to control another section of society.
It is disingenuous beyond belief to colour it any other way, Bread O’Brien and her ilk need to be honest and call it as it is. They are unable to accept anything that doesn’t fit their narrow perspective.
Gay or straight people, married or not married, causes me no threat, I am married and I rejoice in that, my only concern is how we as a civilised society commodify the surrogacy, adoption, assisted reproduction industry. I am concerned that we continue to have secret practices around the purchasing of children, I am concerned that we still have sealed records of adoption in Ireland, I am concerned that we have groups of people actively sourcing children worldwide, I am concerned that Indian obstetricians are making millions off the backs of extremely vulnerable fellow countrywoman, I am concerned that we haven’t learnt from the mistakes of the past and I am concerned that Breda O’Brien and her ilk will camouflage their arguments and dress it up as something else. This is not about the danger to my marriage or yours, this is not about the dangers to children, adoption, surrogacy etc, this is plain and simple anti-gay rhetoric.
Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children.
All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.