Senator Fidelma Healy Eames tells the Sunday Business Post: “Personally I have an open mind on the issue of gay marriage. However, gay adoption raises a number of concerns in relation to how we rear children and the dangers of commodifying children.”
The way I see it, Senator Healy Eames doesn’t even have the moral conviction to own up to her own prejudice. She’s saying “I’m not a bigot but”. Imagine someone saying “I have an open mind on inter-racial marriage but I think there are a number of concerns surrounding miscegenation”.
Leaving aside the logical conclusion of her “commodification” argument, which surely suggests that all babies born through assisted reproduction (and indeed children adopted by heterosexual couples) are in fact commodified children, it is hard not to conclude that those who claim to have no problem with marriage equality but draw the line at adoption equality are saying, in essence, “Let the gays do what they want, to and with each other, but I wouldn’t trust them around children”.
I am informed that Senator Healy Eames has long been known online as Helen Lovejoy. This nickname is spot-on, given her metaphorical screeching “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” and it recalls a wonderful piece by Alan Flanagan entitled “Marriage Equality, The Iona Institute & Helen Lovejoy Syndrome”
I’m sure I’m being unfair and Senator Healy Eames has given a lot of thought to her deeply-held beliefs on marriage and adoption equality. As a public representative, she probably has a long record of having a very conservative view on these matters and is not just cynically saying whatever auld guff will give her most advantage with her new friends in the Fine Gael version of the Tea Party, the so-called Reform Alliance.
I’ll leave you with some thoughts on the subject of marriage and adoption equality from one public representative speaking in 2010.
“I am a heterosexual female married in a traditional family unit. I do not feel the (Civil Partnership) Bill threatens my personal status as a married person or threatens the state of marriage. I was gobsmacked to hear David Quinn from the Iona Institute speak on ‘The Frontline’ about how threatened he felt marriage was by this Bill. He said marriage needed a good PR job just as we have healthy living programmes and advertisement campaigns on television. Why does he feel so threatened? Why is he so unconfident? I have complete confidence in marriage and that marriage will continue to be very popular.
“There are shortcomings in the Bill. There is a glaring omission of children from the Bill and this is an area of major concern. We have an obligation to ensure that children who have parents of the same sex are treated equally in the eyes of the State.
“The Bill does not address the issue of adoption and guardianship, leaving the law unchanged for same sex couples. That is a major flaw and I would like the Minister to address this when summing up. When will we have the guardianship Bill? The Ombudsman for Children, when advising us on the adoption Bill, recommended that the categories of people eligible to apply for adoption should be extended to include same sex couples, and that if the Bill was unchanged, it would continue to deny certain children the possibility of enjoying a permanent and secure legal relationship with both of their parents.”
Of course, you know who said that, don’t you? Yep. Fidelma Healy Eames.