Opponents of same-sex marriage were compared to racists during an acrimonious debate in South Australia’s upper house of parliament, the Legislative Council, earlier this month.
Members of the Legislative Council were debating a private member’s bill, the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Equality of Access) Amendment Bill 2012, which is designed to allow access to IVF for lesbian couples and single women.
Independent MLC, Ann Bressington, declared that “it is well time that we got past the view that somehow same-sex couples are second-class citizens”. She claimed that opposition to lesbian couples being granted access to IVF was akin to the “fear-mongering around interracial marriages [and] inter-religious marriages”.
The controversial bill was first proposed in September last year by Ian Hunter MLC, a long-time homosexual activist before he entered parliament in 2006. He is currently Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion in the Weatherill Labor government.
Mr Hunter’s bill was passed by 12 votes to nine in the Legislative Council on May 2 on a conscience vote, and has now gone to the House of Assembly, the lower house, for a further vote.
The proposed legislation is ostensibly designed to remove the current clause restricting IVF access to women with fertility problems and to extend IVF access to the “socially infertile” (i.e., lesbian couples) — thereby, in the name of same-sex “equality”, deliberately depriving such children of a relationship with their biological father.
The bill does not specifically refer to lesbians or single women but talks about “equality of access” for a “particular woman” who is “unlikely to become pregnant other than by assisted reproductive treatment”.
A previous bill, moved by Ian Hunter in 2011, was more explicit and advertised its intentions in its title, Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Assistance for Lesbians and Single Women) Amendment.
However, during debate in the Legislative Council, the bill’s supporters soon made it clear that their ultimate agenda was more than just extending access to IVF; it was primarily concerned with promoting the cause of same-sex marriage.
Labor MLC Gerry Kandelaars declared that it was “time for our society to truly accept that homosexuality is a reality and that homosexual couples should be able to have their relationship and their love recognised under our secular law”.
However, neither the welfare of the children potentially created through this legislation, nor the fact that lesbian couples cannot act as both mother and father to a child, was addressed by the bill’s proponents.
The only real concern expressed by the bill’s advocates was, as Kandelaars stated, to alleviate distress for lesbians who are supposedly “forced” to get pregnant using “backyard methods with inherent health risks”.
Dignity for Disability MLC, Kelly Vincent, explained that these “backyard methods” included the “undignified” situation of “lesbian couples [who] must revert to the turkey baster method to get pregnant”.
The bill must now be approved by the House of Assembly before it can become law.
In December 2011, Labor Premier Jay Weatherill said he would support the bill. However, he is not supported by everyone in his government. According to the Adelaide Advertiser, “Attorney-General John Rau and Health Minister John Hill have previously declared they would not legislate to allow access to reproductive treatment for same-sex couples or to allow adoption” (Advertiser, May 2, 2012).
The National Civic Council and the Australian Family Association are pledged to work for the defeat of the bill.
Although almost 60 per cent of SA’s MLCs (12 out of 21 voting members) voted in favour of the bill, a 2009 Galaxy Poll showed that 86 per cent of Australians believe that children should ideally be raised by their biological mother and father.
The support in South Australia’s upper house for a bill that would create fatherless children demonstrates the influence that homosexual activists wield in the corridors of power and also how out of touch politicians are with the majority of their voters.
Mr Kandelaars provided an example of this disconnect when he denounced opposition to the bill as “bigotry personified”.
How can these parliamentarians purport to represent the will of the people when they not only oppose the majority of Australians but also dismiss their views as “bigotry”, “discrimination” and comparable to racist fear-mongering?
We deserve better from our elected representatives — and so do our children.
Josh Alstin is South Australian state officer of the National Civic Council.