CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Rights and Wrongs in Relationship Recognition

Dec 17, 2006

Homosexuals continue to demand special rights. That of course is to be expected. What is, or should be, unexpected is when Christians join the chorus, arguing that homosexuals should be given preferential treatment.

The simple truth is, as individuals, homosexuals already enjoy all the rights and benefits that others do. It is when the issue of relationships arises, that the subject needs to be more carefully examined. Activist homosexuals are demanding that their relationships be given the same treatment and considerations as married couples.

But this is where we draw the line. The reason why married couples get certain social and legal benefits that other relationships do not is because of the great advantages married couples have over other couples, and the great contributions they make to society.

The short way of putting it is this: societies grant special benefits to married couples, because they confer special benefits upon society. It is that simple. Other couples and types of relationships do not bestow the same benefits on society, and that is why societies have tended not to recognise those relationships, nor equate them with marriage relationships.

The benefits of married couples are mainly, but not exclusively, the bearing and raising of the next generation. While not every married couple will have children, exceptions do not make the rule. And the dual purposes of marriage throughout human history have always been the regulation of human sexuality and the creation and protection of the next generation.

And the overwhelming weight of social science research has demonstrated what most human cultures have known instinctively throughout history: the best thing we can offer a child is his or her own biological mother and father, cemented by marriage. The research here is quite clear.

Yet adults are increasingly making demands about the kind of lifestyles they want, without considering the impact these will have on children or the rest of society. But the interests of the child and the greater community good should always be our top priority.

That in a nutshell is why we should not be granting governmental recognition of homosexual relationships, a case I have argued at length elsewhere on the website. Yet surprisingly some Christians want to grant same-sex couples special rights, and/or recognise their relationships as in a registration scheme. But this is not the right way to proceed. I have made my case against such ideas here: billmuehlenberg.com/2006/07/13/an-assessment-of-the-ea-paper-on-homosexuality/

One reason why we should avoid such traps became evident in the UK recently. There same-sex relationships have been recognised, and with the well-intentioned but uninformed support of some Christians. But the granting of special rights to some can also mean other people losing their rights. Or it can mean preferential treatment going to a less-deserving group, while arguably more deserving groups miss out.

The story is this: Two elderly sisters living together all their life have been denied by the European Court of Human Rights the right to receive the same inheritance tax benefits enjoyed by lesbian couples. As Gudrun Schultz discusses in the December 15, 2006 LifeSiteNews.com, these sisters, who can claim to be much more of a family than two lesbians, have been prevented from receiving normal family benefits.

Recall that a family is any group of people related by blood, adoption or heterosexual marriage. Thus two sisters who have lived together for a lifetime would certainly qualify for special family benefits. But in our upside down world, they cannot get access to these benefits while homosexuals can.

“Joyce and Sybil Burden argued that their claim to legal recognition was equally as convincing as lesbian couples, since they had lived together all of their lives – Joyce is 88 and Sybil is 80. Under the UK Civil Partnership Act introduced in 2004, same-sex couples registered as civil partners enjoy freedom from taxes on inheritance, on the death of one partner. The sisters wanted the same protection – their family home will have to be sold to pay the inheritance tax bill when one sister dies.”

Said Joyce, “This government is always going out of its way to give rights to people who have done nothing to deserve them. If we were lesbians, we would have all the rights in the world. But we are sisters, and it seems we have no rights at all. It is disgusting that we are being treated like this. It is an insult.”

Of course one should not be surprised at the EU making such a PC judgement. It has been pushing radical agendas for some time now, and it probably makes sense to them to give preferential treatment to homosexual couples over familial relationships. Consider the rationale of the Court: “The EU Court, in a 4-3 ruling, said the sisters were not entitled to the same rights as homosexuals because they had not chosen to enter into a legal commitment – their relationship was simply the result of birth.” Amazing!

As attorney Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada put it, “Two sisters, or any sort of family relationship, is of enormous value to society. The family is the best health, education and welfare system we’ve got going. And yet to ignore that as being less than the homosexual or lesbian relationship is very offensive.”

She continues, “Logically and consistently, once you’ve opened the door to relationships beyond heterosexual married couples – because of companionship and other benefits – you have to grant the same rights to everybody. You’ve changed the whole dynamic and purpose of legal marriage, which is procreation. We know that lesbian and homosexual couples are not equal to heterosexual married couples, because the purpose of the heterosexual union is of course procreation. That’s the only relationship the State has a basic interest in – to promote and encourage the birth of children.”

Quite so. But in a world where common sense becomes less and less common, and morality is constantly being thrown out the window, we can expect more such insanity to be foisted upon us. Indeed, how much longer before the family unit is actually outlawed altogether?

www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/dec/06121504.html

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5 Responses to Rights and Wrongs in Relationship Recognition

  • Bill

    You said:

    ‘And the overwhelming weight of social science research has demonstrated what most human cultures have known instinctively throughout history: the best thing we can offer a child is his or her own biological mother and father, cemented by marriage. The research here is quite clear.’

    Are you able to give us some examples of these studies? I have read from you before that social science has produced much evidence in favour of heterosexual, monogamous families. Can you marshall some of this evidence for us? Or perhaps right an article on the basis of such evidence? I would be very interested to see it.

    Damien Spillane

  • Thanks Damien
    The social science research on this issue is voluminous. There are thousands of studies to choose from. Thus I have had to try to summarise this ever-growing mountain of evidence. I have therefore penned a number of research papers doing just that. One such paper is called “The Case For the Two-Parent Family”. It is much too big for this website. It is 16 pages long and contains over 120 references. I can send it to you, and others who request it. I hope to turn this and my other research papers into books and/or booklets soon. Thanks for asking.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,
    An excellent article but unfortunately true.
    It is very worrying when a law court says that 2 sisters can’t claim the same rights as a homosexual couple who could be parted tomorrow even though the assets have been in the family for a long time.
    Most of us would assume that family relationships have precedence over any other ones and I don’t blame the women for being insulted by the ruling.
    On the issue of marriage v other relationships many studies as you say have found that children thrive in a monogamous marriage situation. One has only to look at our present society and teach in the schools to see what damage has been done to children through divorce.
    No Christian can justify promoting homosexual relationships if they live by their faith but then there are Christians supporting abortions too.

    Nola Drum

  • The problem started when Western nations began decriminalising homosexuality. Once this threshold is crossed it then becomes very difficult for social conservatives to argue against all benefits being made available to these types of relationships. The argument that homosexual relationships should not enjoy the benefits available to heterosexual relationships because the former do not benefit society, is weak in comparison to the argument that a type of relationship which has the approval of the state should logically enjoy the benefits that the state confers upon other types of relationships.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Bill,
    thanks for keeping watch on the encroachments on the family. This analysis is much needed.
    Stan Fishley, Wantirna

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