The problem of a fatherless society

Miranda Devine

Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 09:09am

The fact that Penny Wong’s female partner is to have a baby is a cause for private celebration for them. But why are so many people exhorting the rest of us to celebrate as if this were some major milestone in human civilisation?

You’d think no politician had ever had a child before.

We are supposed to ignore Tony and Margie Abbott’s three daughters because every time he is seen with them it is some sort of unfair snub to Julia Gillard and reflection on her marital status.

The traditional heterosexual norm of a nuclear family and children is something to be kept in a closet like an embarrassment.

Tolerance has gone back to front. It is no longer good enough to accept without criticism female politicians in de facto or lesbian relationships. Now we have to downplay traditional marriage for fear of causing offence. No one can be a wife or husband any more. Everyone is a “partner”.

The unorthodox situation of a lesbian artificially inseminated with the sperm of a male “acquaintance” we are supposed to laud as if it were the Second Coming, the wonderful pWrecursor of what the New York Times once lauded as the “post-marital” future.

Well, no.

Wong, to her credit, has not politicised her private life. The baby is due in December, coincidentally the same time as Labor’s national conference at which same sex-marriage will be on the agenda. The 42-year-old finance minister has always been circumspect about the issue and says she is not trying to use her status to publicly push the case for same-sex marriage.

“You don’t have a child to make a political point, do you?” she says.

But others are having a field day, cynically using the four-month pregnancy as a weapon in the relentless push for same-sex marriage.

“Should the senator take the plunge? If only” read the none-too subtle headline of the Sydney Morning Herald’s letters page.

“A child on the way! Do the right thing, Penny. Marry the woman,” wrote Julie Lulham of Ashfield.

“It is a pity that they cannot enjoy the same public recognition and status that most other committed couples enjoy through marriage Fortunately, times have changed, and will continue to do so,” wrote Robert McKenna of Liberty Grove.

The issue is presented as an inevitability linked, illogically, to tolerance for gay people. Opponents are homophobic, intolerant, backward, evil bigots, not people of good will who are entitled, whether on religious grounds or otherwise, to believe that marriage, as the institution best served to protect children, should remain between a man and a woman.

There’s even mounting pressure on the makers of Sesame Street to have Bert and Ernie get married and become gay exemplars.

Maybe same-sex marriage is as inevitable as its energetic proponents say, but it would be a pyrrhic victory if it were achieved through intimidation of opponents.

As a Catholic, I believe the push for same-sex marriage is not about enhancing the lives of gay couples. In countries where it has been legalised, there has been no rush to the altar.

The issue is largely symbolic. It is simply a political tool to undermine the last bastion of bourgeois morality - the traditional nuclear family.

You only had to see the burning streets of London last week to see the manifestation of a fatherless society.

The collapse of family life in Britain has been laid bare, reported to have the highest proportion of single mothers in Europe and nearly half of all children suffering family breakdown by the age of 16.

Fatherless families in underprivileged boroughs of London are the norm.

People were quick to call for sanctions on the parents of feral youth looting shops and torching buildings.

Clapham shop-owner Elizabeth Pilgrim wailed to the BBC: “They’re feral rats. What are those parents doing? Those children should be at home. They shouldn’t be out here causing mayhem.”

But the fact is the fathers of those children are probably long gone. There are no “parents” to take charge and exert control over their wayward children.

The welfare state has taken over the father’s role of protector, provider, and enforcer, substituting sit-down money for love and care. And what a mess it has made: fatherless boys full of incoherent rage, fatherless girls having another generation of fatherless babies to a string of feckless men.

It is politically incorrect to say so, but the ideal situation for a child is to be brought up in an intact family with a father and a mother.

As a rule, what prevents social chaos and the underclass is an intact family. What keeps children safe is an intact family, with a father in the home.

Sure, there are aberrations, and you can always find evils within traditional families, domestic violence and child abuse.

But even this imperfect institution is better than the Hobbesian social chaos the children of the underclasses have been born into for the last 50 years.

Marriage is not just a private relationship: it is a social good. Collectively, the erosion of the institution of marriage, and the relegating of fathers to the sidelines, is destructive to society.

And, obviously, that does not mean that all fatherless households are bad for children.

Wong and her partner, Sophie Allouache, will no doubt be fine mothers, with the financial and personal competence to provide their child a stable, loving upbringing, despite not having a father in the home - though Wong says he will be “known” to the child.

Individually, these things work themselves out. Allowances are made, extra effort applied. Love conquers all.

But for Wong’s decision to be praised as if it is the loftiest of ideals is wrong.


Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre

Notice Penny Wong fails to reveal "Who the father is" and how she is going to arrange for the child to spend time with his or her father.

What is disturbing is that Penny Wong is making a predetermined conclusions that this child, will not want to have a father, that this child does not need a father and that this child will be better off with a female partner somehow replacing a father?

This is a form of child abuse, by a minister of the government who wishes to see two mother families become the norm.

Any man who donates sperm to a lesbian couple is a child abuser and his , or "it's act" is a symptom of a lack of balls, and a personality disorder, so frequent in the gay and lesbian community.