Suppressed Canadian report on same-sex parenting
Political, religious, & social
conservatives and the report
Social and religious conservatives' beliefs about same-sex marriage and
It is no secret that social and religious conservatives
throughout North America and the rest of the West generally take a negative view
abortion access, same-sex marriage, other
equal rights for sexual minorities,
same-sex parenting, comprehensive sex education,
the teaching of evolution in public schools, pre-marital
sex, etc. However, the basic principles that lie behind these concerns are rarely discussed.
Three examples are:
The generally ignored core belief that underlies much of the pro-life
opposition to abortion access is a theological
concept: that God creates a unique and immortal soul for each pre-embryo at the time of
its fertilization in a woman's fallopian tubes. It is this soul that converts the physical "products of conception"
into a human person. Thus, many pro-lifers regard abortion, whether
performed early or late in
pregnancy, as murder of a human being.
Much of the religious conservatives' opposition to the teaching of
evolution is based on its contradiction of the
literal interpretation of the creation stories in
Genesis -- the first book in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). If
Genesis is not literally true, then the sin committed by Adam and Eve when
they ate the
fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would be a myth.
Conservative Christians view the sin as causing the
fall of humanity in which the
original sin of the guilty persons (Adam and Eve) was transferred to the innocent
(subsequent generations of humans). Without this transfer of sin, there is no clear need for the
torture death of Yeshua of
Nazareth (Jesus Christ), his resurrection,
and the resulting atonement. Accepting the
creation stories as myth would contradict the conservative
Christian belief that God inspired the
authors of the Bible to write inerrant text.
The latter are two major beliefs particularly stressed by conservative Protestants.
Much of the opposition to marriage equality for persons of
all sexual orientations is based on
religious and social conservatives' view of the specific roles that they believe God has assigned
to males and females
within the family, in the workplace, and in the church. Men are expected to
be the family leader in financial, spiritual, and other decisions. Men make
the decisions; women submit to the pronouncements of their husbands. Men provide the protection that
women need; women provide the civilizing influence that men need. The two
sexes are considered so
different mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. that they are almost
regarded as different species.
In a same-sex marriage (SSM), the family is missing either a male or female
parent as found in opposite-sex marriages. God's model for the family, as understood by conservatives, cannot
be implemented in a SSM. There is no obvious way to divide the responsibilities in a family
led by two women or two men except by dialogue and mutual consent. Conservatives
generally feel that children require both a mother and a father as role models
for proper development.
This has generated their concern that same-sex
marriages might damage the culture and destroy the institution of marriage.
Calls for a study:
In the U.S., same-sex marriage was only legalized in the state of
Massachusetts between mid-2004 and mid-2008. But in Canada,
same-sex marriage was first legalized in Ontario
during mid-2003 and became available across the entire
country by mid-2005. This raised major concerns among religious and social conservatives.
Some of these groups called for a study of the damage that SSM might do to the
2006-DEC-07: The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada (EFC) issued a press release stating that: "In redefining marriage, the government has failed to either
study the issue or give consideration to studies completed by other countries."
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) issued a statement calling on "federal
politicians to undertake research and further consultations on the long-term
impact of the redefinition of civil marriage on society and future generations."
Douglas Cryer, director
of public policy for the EFC wrote: "It is time the government,
and institutions that have the best interests of the family at heart, engage
in serious study to determine the effects ... on our families."
A study commissioned and then suppressed:
It came as a surprise to many that the previous federal
government, led by the Liberals, actually had funded precisely such a study back
in 2003, when the first same-sex marriages (SSMs) became available. At the time,
same-sex marriage (SSM) was restricted to residents of, or visitors to, the province of Ontario. The
Department commissioned a team led by Paul Hastings, who holds a Ph.D. in
Applied Developmental Psychology to conduct the study.
The research report concluded that same-sex parents were at
least as good as opposite-sex parents in raising their children.
federal government, led by the Conservatives under the leadership of Stephen
Harper, suppressed the report. Some gay-positive groups suspect that the report
was buried because it showed that the fears of religious, social, and political conservatives towards SSM were groundless.
Fortunately, Canada's Access to Information Act
allowed Paul Hastings to obtain a copy of his own report and make it public in
2007-MAY. It is available on the SameSexMarriage.ca web site. 1
Calls by conservative Christians for research suddenly stopped
when the report became available to the general public.
Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell, "Harper shoves family study into the closet.
Cons[ervatives] & Christian extremists don't want you to know," Equal Marriage,
"Children's Development of Social Competence Across Family Types", Department of Justice, Canada, 2006-JUL at:
Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-JUN-19
Latest update: 2008-JUN-23
Partly written by: B.A. Robinson