Ottawa - Canada
March 24, 2005
House of Commons
Speech delivered by MP, Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin,
Mr. Speaker, this is indeed a great privilege. I wish we were not here today
having to debate
what we thought was something so very obvious even just a few short years ago in terms of the definition of marriage as being that between a man and a
woman. It was so basic as to not even be entered into in terms of the kind of discussion we have here today.
As many others are, I will be stating some very definitive, very profound and very far-reaching kinds of reasons for my support of that definition, because this bill means we are not just looking over the ends of our noses but down through the years ahead and beyond for the good of society. We cannot use society as a gigantic social laboratory.
First and foremost, I will be supporting traditional heterosexual marriage. As the member just inferred and as is the case with many others here, I will be supporting it for the sake of the children, because they are the most vulnerable members of society. We need to keep them uppermost in our minds as we engage in a debate like this. They need both parents, both the mom and the dad, the male and the female, the man and the woman, to care for them and to be role models for them.
The United Nations convention on the rights of the child says in article 7 that it is the right of a child "to know and be cared for by his or her parents". In that part of the United Nations convention, article 7 is very obviously a reference to a man and a woman, a male and a female, and the normal understanding of parenting. It is the right of a child "to know and to be cared for by his or her parents".
Neither the United Nations human rights commission nor the European convention on human rights has decreed that homosexual marriage is a human
right. We need to debunk that. We need to be very emphatic in stating that it is not a human right. The supreme courts in other countries have not
found it to be a human right and none of the countries that have entered into same sex marriage scenarios have. No country in the world has had the
gall to say that homosexual marriage is a human right. It is in the nature of a social public policy, if one were to be honest about it, and in my
view, a very bad one at that.
Only the Canadian government, only the Liberal government, has used the goofy argument that it is a human right. No one else in this world has made
this kind of ridiculous assertion. However, I have digressed just a bit. Article 3 of the same United Nations convention on the rights of the child
states: "In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or
legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration."
More than 10,000 studies have concluded that children's best interests are met when they are raised by loving and committed mothers and fathers, the biological parents, those who brought them into existence and into this world. One can argue about artificial insemination and assisted reproduction and so on, but it takes a man and a woman, a sperm and an egg, to bring children into being. All the studies demonstrate very clearly that a child's best interests are met when they are raised by those who have brought them into this world.
After spending 20 years researching the effects of family structure on children, University of Wisconsin professors McLanahan and Sandefur concluded in their very exhaustive work, entitled "Growing Up with a Single Parent: What are the Costs?", that if they were asked to design a system for making sure that a child's basic needs were met, if they could draw it up from scratch and design it from a blank slate, so to speak, they would come up with the heterosexual two-parent ideal. They state:
"The fact that both parents have a biological connection to the child would increase the likelihood that the parents would identify with the child and
be willing to sacrifice for that child...."The child is their blood. It is their flesh. It is out of that very union. As a result, they have a greater interest, or a greater vested interest if we will, in the care and upbringing of that child. Again we can go to the United Nations convention on the rights of the child. In article 7 it states that it is the right of a child "to know and be cared for by his or her parents".
Dr. Margaret Somerville, professor of ethics, states:
"- I believe that a child needs both a mother and a father and, unless there are good reasons to the contrary, to be raised by its own biological mother
and father. We can see the deep human need to be connected to our origins through the intense desire of adopted children to find their birth parents
and, more recently, those born from donated sperm or ova."They go to great lengths to find their birth parents, or in other words, their biological parents.
Defining the institution of marriage as the union between a man and a woman is our recognition as a society of those inborn, innate needs of children
and our means of trying to ensure that they are fulfilled.
According to a new report, marriage is dying in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Noted author Stanley Kurtz reviewed trends in marriage and divorce and child
rearing in those three Scandinavian states. He concluded that the institution of marriage is being abandoned in favour of cohabitation and various other diverse family forms. He said, "The rise of fragile families based on cohabitation and out of wedlock child-bearing means that during the nineties, the total rate of family dissolution in Scandinavia significantly increased".
As out of wedlock births skyrocket and alternate family forms become normative, marriage declines steadily. Stanley Kurtz posits that these countries' acceptance of same sex marriage is perhaps the clearest symbol of the death of marriage because it serves to "reinforce the...cultural separation between marriage and parenthood". The three nations of Denmark, Norway and Sweden legalized de facto gay marriage between 1980 and 1994. Kurtz concludes that the evidence from the Scandinavian experiment demonstrates that redefining marriage to include same sex couples definitely undermines marriage.
We must support firmly traditional and heterosexual marriage for the sake of the children, because that is the future. That is what we all are here for. It is why as a society we do all the things that we do. I guess we could say it is for the sake of the next generation, for the children in the days ahead but also for the sake of free speech. A minister of the crown attacked churches for speaking out on the marriage bill and talked about the wonderful thing that separation of church and
state is, which it is, but in baleful ignorance of where that concept even derived from. It came out of the United States of America when Thomas Jefferson was responding to individuals, Baptists at that, who were asking if the Congregationalists were going to be endorsed as the state church in the U.S.A.Jefferson responded to them that on the federal level there would be no endorsement of the Congregationalists over any other particular church group or sect in that country. He was trying to assure them that there would not be an imposition of the state on the church. It was in no way a reference to the fact that the church or individuals in the church could not weigh in and enter into the discourse of ideas, the public square. Rather, it was a one way valve stopping the government from imposing on the individuals and upon the churches.
The minister, as a minister of the crown, showed rather a great ignorance, as do others, either wilfully or perhaps by skewing the facts to his particular intent.
The justice minister also mused about legislation that would prevent someone from out of country weighing in on this present marriage debate. Again the government is trying to stifle free speech in the present debate before us.With the legalization of homosexual marriage it is my deep concern that every public school in the nation will be required to teach that homosexual coupling is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. We have seen it already. A good example would be the pressures being faced in your own home province, Mr. Speaker. The schools in Surrey, British Columbia were faced with that pressure in a fight that took them a long route through the courts in respect to curriculum on this very issue. The schools were forced and coerced to have textbooks in the public system depicting a man-man and woman-woman relationship as synonymous with a heterosexual marriage relationship. Stories written for children as young as elementary school and kindergarten may have to give equal space and emphasis to those particular arrangements, those homosexual couplings as equivalent to marriage. It is for that reason as well, for the sake of free speech, for the sake of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
Do we honestly believe as Canadians that the Liberal government will protect those rights of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience when only a few years ago the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister assured Canadians that they had no intention of changing the definition? In fact they have done that very thing. They have broken that promise. Promise made, promise broken.
I have much more to say, but I would say it is not only for the sake of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience but it is also for the sake of integrity and honesty in public figures. Members of the government, the Deputy Prime Minister in particular and others have made outrageous contradictory and hypocritical statements on the record. They have said they will protect traditional heterosexual marriages and then have reversed their positions 180° where they now say that does not matter, that was then, this is now and they are going to undermine it directly.
For those reasons, we need to affirm traditional marriage and uphold heterosexual marriage for the good of society in future years.