Christian Living

New Ontario Law Denies Reality of Parentage

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 12/03/2016

News out of Canada:

Children in Ontario, Canada, may now have up to four legal parents, none of which must be birth parents, under a bill passed by the legislature Tuesday.

Under the All Families are Equal Act, same-sex couples or a group of up to four adults who agree to have a child, whether through a surrogate mother or artificial insemination, will be legally viewed as parents without any adoption process. They simply must sign a contract to co-parent before the child is conceived....

Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s attorney general, applauded the vote in a statement, saying the act will ensure “that all kids are treated equally by recognizing the legal status of their parents no matter if their parents are LGBTQ2+ or straight, and no matter if they were conceived with the help of assisted reproduction.”

The point of the bill is to make sure the state recognizes “the legal status of the parents,” however the children were conceived. Except the reality is that said children were ultimately conceived by actual parents—a man and a woman. Not technology. Not four people. Not two people of the same sex. Signing a contract before conception does nothing to change the reality of the man and the woman who actually brought the child into existence.

My comments are not meant to say adoptive parents are not real parents. Adoption is a wonderful thing, and it’s something that should be legally recognized by the state. Rather, it’s to point out that the bill (and the language being used to promote the bill) obscures reality and lessens the government’s responsibility to respect the family as a pre-political institution not under the control of the state. When the government legalizes an adoption, it is submitting itself to the truth that the connection between parents and child is real, meaningful, and not subject to the whim of the state or anyone else. Children can’t be separated from their parents and then joined to new ones without the proper, official legal action. The parents have natural rights that can’t be violated by the state because those rights existed before the state and weren’t created by the state. But now that the Ontario government has given itself the power to legally ignore the natural rights of the parents who created the child by not requiring adoption, it is effectively no longer answering to a reality above itself on this matter.

Look at the headline of this article: “Ontario passes law giving equal parenting rights to same-sex couples.” But this is not “equal parenting rights,” as if these couples (or groups of four) were having children and being denied the right of having their parentage recognized.* A child is only created by a man and a woman. Parentage laws should apply equally to all parents, not non-parents.

Here’s a quote from that article:

“Parents deserve this respect. This is something a long time coming. Human rights should be given to all people and this is a great success,” he said.

Under Bill 28, same-sex parents no longer have to adopt their own children.

What on earth? Adopt their own children? In what sense are those children “their own” if not through adoption? A child is created by a man and a woman. Can you not see that a whole new meaning has been given to the words “their own children”? A meaning that is disconnected from reality? And is there really a “human right” to have the government recognize your desired “reality” rather than submit itself to actual reality? And what of the rights of the actual birth parents? And what of truth? To automatically legally ignore the birth parents of the child and replace them with unrelated people who signed a contract is to lie.

I promise you, no good comes from the government lying about reality.

Carl Trueman recently said in a post worth reading, “We have now become whoever and whatever we happen to think we are, and the world needs to be remade in a manner that plays to our fantasies.” Legally remaking reality will require extensive and unprecedented governmental intervention. And none of this is unforeseen. The union of a man and a woman is unique and has unique consequences—it creates children. Same-sex unions cannot do this. The second we decided to pretend marriage had nothing to do with the unique properties of the man/woman union, we started down a road whose only outcome is an increasing amount of legislation and term redefinitions to try to make two unlike things the same.

*Perhaps you are thinking, “But when a woman has a baby, the law presumes her husband is the father of the child. The government doesn’t do tests to confirm he is actually the father in that case, so doesn’t equality demand that it have the same rules for same-sex couples and automatically record the spouse as the other parent?” Here we’re back to the problem I explain at the end of the post: the two types of unions are inherently different, and the difference is relevant to the issue. There’s quite a big difference between presuming the husband is the father, something that might not be true, and asserting something that is most definitely untrue—i.e., that a woman is the father.