Lawyers for Yes is a new group, much as Mothers and Fathers Matter is a new group, but with one major difference.
While Mothers and Fathers Matter is a front for Opus Dei, and is utterly unconcerned with facts or truth despite its religious motivation, Lawyers for Yes is composed of people who actually know something.
They don’t have “legal advisors”. They are actual legal experts. Senior Counsel. Experienced solicitors. People who understand the law and who are in a position to say precisely what the implications of the proposed Marriage Equality amendment are.
And they have produced a guide that blows every last lie of the Iona Institute and MAFM out of the water.
Here are some of the points they make.
The potential to have children is not a defining characteristic of marriage. The courts have consistently emphasised that a married couple without children is a ‘family’.
This is one of the most pernicious lies put out by Opus Iona. The constitution emphatically does not define family in terms of children.
As the document points out
The State does not require opposite-sex couples, whom it permits to marry, to be fertile, to be of child-bearing age, or to make a commitment to procreate. It is the commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the having of children, that is the sine qua non of civil marriage.
It continues as follows.
The view that marriage must be open to the procreation of children is demeaning to couples who are incapable of procreating. It is likewise demeaning to couples who begin such a relationship when they no longer have the capacity to conceive. It is demeaning to adoptive parents to suggest that their family is any less a family and any less entitled to respect and concern than a family with procreated children. It is also demeaning to couples who voluntarily decide not to have children.
On the fallacy that civil partnership is the equivalent of marriage for same-sex couples, the lawyers explain clearly that the key difference which continues to exist between civil partnership and marriage is the fact that civil partnerships do not have constitutional protection or recognition.
The State is not obliged to guard with special care and protect from attack the institution of civil partnership. Civil partnerships are not constitutionally recognised families and, therefore, are not considered to be a fundamental group in society.
A crucial consequence of this is that the legislation providing for civil partnership could be amended or repealed.
Children deprived of their mothers
The Iona / Opus Dei alliance is promoting the nonsense that same-sex marriage will somehow deprive children of their parents, a position that the lawyers have little time for, dismissing it with mild contempt.
The argument that “a child has a right to a father and a mother” presupposes that marriage equality will deprive them of a father and a mother. The overwhelming majority of children in Ireland are born to co-habiting or married heterosexual parents. Not one of these children will be deprived of their mother or their father by marriage equality.
Mum and Dad do best
By the same token, they have scant regard for the desperate claim that children raised by a man and a woman do better than those raised by two people of the same sex. Neither the Psychology Society of Ireland (PSI) nor the American Psychological Association agree with this claim, and the APA has explicitly dismissed the claims of the Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage, quoted by Iona / Opus Dei, as outdated and contrary to the position of professional psychological bodies.
To quote the APA, which is actually qualified to pronounce on psychological matters, in distinct contrast to both Iona and Opus Dei,
On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the APA and other health professional and scientific organisations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.
That seems fairly clear, but the president of the PSI has something to add.
Empirical studies have failed to find reliable differences between the children of same-sex and heterosexual couples with regard to their gender identity, gender role behaviour, sexual orientation, mental health, or psychological and social adjustment.
Next time a spokesperson from Iona/Opus Dei appears on the radio or TV, can we hope that a journalist will confront them with these statements?
Same sex marriage will not give people the right to adopt a child. Nobody has that right now and nobody will have it in the future, even if same-sex marriage becomes legal. Adoption is about the suitability of a person or a couple to adopt, and same-sex couples already have the right to apply for adoption. This right will not be affected by the referendum, since adoption does not require people to be married.
As Lawyers for Yes point out
The Children and Family Relationships Act, 2015 allows adoption by same-sex couples. A same-sex couple, who are civil partners, and who live together, may apply jointly for an adoption order, in the same way that a married couple can.
as they are civil partners and not a married couple, they will not have the constitutional protection that a married couple, who have adopted a child, have. If the referendum passes, then those couples may marry and their adopted children will have the same Constitutional protection as adopted children of opposite-sex married couples.
This is what Iona /Opus Dei don’t want to happen. They do not want the adopted children of same-sex couples to have the same constitutional protections as all other children, which seems rather strange, since they present themselves as defenders of children.
Iona/ Opus Dei have opposed assisted reproduction for heterosexual couples since the procedure became available. As the document points out, this is the primary way in which infertile couples become parents, whether they happen to be man and woman or whether they are of the same sex. It has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.
Donor-assisted Human Reproduction
The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 sets out a comprehensive scheme for the attribution of parenthood in assisted reproduction. The Act provides that the legally recognised mother of any child is the woman that gives birth to him or her. Provided that adequate consent is obtained from all parties, the Act allows for the woman’s spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant to be recognised as the second legal parent of the child. The Act deals with opposite-sex and same-sex couples in precisely the same way, hence, donor assisted reproduction raises the same issues for all parents, regardless of their orientation.
In other words, this has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.
Surrogacy can only be addressed through careful regulation. But these issues apply equally to surrogacy arrangements entered into by opposite-sex and same-sex couples alike. Again, very many of the couples availing of surrogacy are heterosexual. Surrogacy is availed of by couples in Ireland without regulation at the present time. This usually involves the couple travelling abroad to a country where commercial surrogacy is available. The passing or otherwise of the Marriage Equality Referendum will not affect this. The only change will be when legislation is introduced to regulate surrogacy.
Again, in other words, surrogacy has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.
Boiled down to its simplest terms, the No side has only one argument: same-sex couples should not raise children.
Since we know from the testimony of experts that same-sex couples raise children just as well as all the single parents in the country, who comprise 30% of our society, and all the heterosexual couples, this is not just plain nonsense but a deliberate, cynical lie.
The only other alternative is that these people simply have a profound distaste for the very notion of same-sex relationships, and there’s only one word for that.
The prejudice that dare not speak its name.
Here’s the full document. Read it and use it.