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Same-sex 'marriage' disconnects from parenthood.

Author Stanley Kurtz, in a fall 2004 report in The Weekly Standard noted that until only a few years ago, if cohabiting Dutch couples decided to have children, they got married. The Dutch achievement of coupling liberal family law and state welfare with traditional attitudes toward marriage was hailed by demographers as a model for Europe. But things have changed.

Today, marriage in the Netherlands has declined steeply. In the mid-1990s, out-of-wedlock births, already rising, began a steeper increase, nearly doubling to 31 per cent of births in 2003. Why?

Politicking started in 1989

The push for same-sex "marriage" began in 1989. When attempts to legalize gay "marriage" through the courts failed, advocates launched a campaign of cultural and political activism. With the election of a socially liberal government in 1994, the movement picked up steam.

In 1996, the lower house of parliament passed a motion calling for gay "marriage," and the government began to plan for it. In 1997, parliament legalized registered partnerships. By 2000, large majorities in parliament had come around to the idea and same sex "marriage" was approved. The law became effective April 1, 2001.

Principal aim

A principal aim of the 1990's campaign for same sex "marriage" was to disconnect the link between marriage and parenthood. Lined up in the debate were the Centrist Christian Democrats allied with several small religious political parties vis-a-vis the socialist-liberal parties, gay rights groups, and the Greens.

Cees van der Staaij, a member of one of the small religious parties, argued that same sex "marriage" is not a matter of equality. The equality argument applies, he said, only to those who are similarly situated. Since even the possibility of procreation is "structurally missing" in same-sex "marriage," then hetero- and homosexual couples are differently situated, and the equality principle does not apply.

He also pointed out that the female spouse of a mother who conceived a child was not the parent of the biologically unrelated child and, therefore, did not fulfill the two parent norm. The government evaded this issue by denying automatic parental rights to same-sex spouses, thereby de-linking marriage and parenthood.

Four years later in 2000, during the final parliamentary debate on gay "marriage," Otto Vos, spokesman for the Liberal Party, stated that, love being the "driving force in selecting one of the forms of relationship, there is absolutely no reason ... to distinguish between hetero- and homosexual love." That is, marriage is just one choice in an array of relationship options--as gay activists, radical feminists, and the Greens had been saying for years.

In 1996 the Greens also were aware of the significance of gay "marriage." Lesbian intellectual Xandra Schutte, writing in The Green Amsterdammer, stated that gays would be trendsetters in breaking the connection between marriage and parenthood, thereby pushing society toward a more "flexible" conception of relationships. This, she added, could include three- and foursomes. By 2000, Green party spokesman Femke Halsema declared conservative opponents were right to claim that gay "marriage" would be tantamount to the abolition of marriage: that was why gay "marriage" was a good thing.


The "flexible" conception of relationships is exactly what has developed since gay "marriage" has been legalized. The revised Parental Leave Act and revised tax code of 2001 extend the rights of married couples and registered partners to unregistered cohabitors. These legal changes confirm that legalization of gay marriage, far from reinforcing the institution of marriage, actually undermines it.

The upsurge in Dutch parental cohabitation comes as no surprise, when the arguments of the debate in favour of gay "marriage" are taken seriously. After a decade of "educating" the public to de-link marriage and parenthood and to regard gay "marriage" as a matter of equality, many people, especially the young, have shed their "inertial traditionalism" and succumbed to the idea that all relationships are equally deserving of state support. Having considered and rejected the tie between marriage and parenthood, they have begun to experiment with parental cohabitation in record numbers. The same effects will come about in countries adopting same-sex "marriage."

Stanley Kurtz is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a contributing editor at National Review Online.

Kurtz has written on some of the most controversial issues of the day--campus free speech, affirmative action, grade inflation, feminism, gay marriage, and the role of religion in public life.

With a doctorate in social anthropology from Harvard University, Kurtz has also written on the roots of social and cultural divisions in America and the role of women in the Muslim world. He has been published widely.
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Author:Nitsch, Kathline
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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