Monday, July 26, 2010

Argentina and Lesbian Mums

Legislation passed this month by the Argentinian Senate now makes this, one of the world’s most Catholic countries, also one of the most liberal in terms of equal rights for same-sex couples.

The legislation, which was passed narrowly, allows same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples. This is such a wonderfully brave and decisive move from a government who is not short of other issues to be worrying about.

Although happily married myself, I’m fairly ambivalent about the institution and what it should mean to society as a whole. Ultimately marriage is a matter of personal choice from which no one should be restricted on the basis of who they happen to be in love with.

I have much stronger feelings, however, about the rights of same-sex couples to be parents. Full disclosure here: I have a lesbian sister who has two fabulous children with her partner of 14 years. But while I believe that my niece and nephew are the two greatest kids who have ever lived, my point here is not to extoll the virtues of lesbian parents.

The more serious point is this: if we are to pass judgement on who is, or is not, fit to be a parent, we need to pass that judgement universally. Are heterosexual parents willing to have the government involved in deciding whether or not they are able to raise children? I would think not.

In our society where both declining birthrates and teenage pregnancies are increasing problems, we should embrace anyone who takes seriously the role of parenting and who enters into it with the sort of thought, planning and self-awareness that is required for same-sex couples to do so.

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