MPPs say Farewell to Family

The Ontario Legislature’s decision to approve the “All Families Are Equal” Act is a mockery of justice and a galling misappropriation of God’s design for the family.

Through countless generations the nuclear family – consisting of mother, father and their biological offspring – has been the bedrock of Western civilization and indeed the foundation of social order in almost all cultures on earth. Jesus Christ affirms this foundation:

 And He also said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate” (Matt. 19: 5-6).

The result of this sacred union is children, who are to be raised in the context of the family with a mother and father. God himself has joined husband and wife, parents and children in the ordained structure of the family and we are warned not to attempt to separate what God has joined. But once again Ontario’s courts and politicians know better than Christ, the Bible, Western history and almost all cultures in the world. Why? On Tuesday November 29, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario voted unanimously to pass Bill 28, dubbed the ‘All Families are Equal’ Act. In the words of the Legislature, this Act will “amend the Children's Law Reform Act, the Vital Statistics Act and various other Acts respecting parentage and related registrations.”[1] Of the 107 elected MPPs, only 79 were present for the vote. See the link below for the full 18,000-word bill.[2]

To say that Bill 28 will “amend” existing legislation is one of the greatest political understatements of our generation. By its nature it radically reinterprets what a family is and what a human being is. In the process, it arrogates to the provincial courts the authority to define families and parents however they see fit, and turns children into a commodity. It is yet another case of activist judges in our courts pursuing the eradication of creational norms; meanwhile our progressivist politicians either support this agenda or are too cowardly to do anything about it.

First, Bill 28 strikes out every instance of the words “father” or “mother” in the affected Acts, replacing them with the generic, genderless term “parent;” it further removes any references to “blood relations.” This is in order to make room for a new type of “family” formed by a “Pre-conception Parentage Agreement” (PCPA - a contractual arrangement in which up to four people can apply for legal status as “parent” to a child not yet conceived). The PCPA may or may not include the sperm or egg donors or surrogate ­– the child’s biological father and mother.

Note specifically the galling presumptuousness of this bill, purporting to offer, by legislative fiat, rights and roles that are God’s alone to give; the absolutization of the state in this piece of legislation is clearly on display and with it the new religion of statism. With a little reproductive assistance, anyone can now become, with anyone (or no one) else, a ‘parent’ in the eyes of the state, to a child not yet conceived. In fact, it allows a man to father a child by natural means, but to agree in writing beforehand that he will not be a legal parent to the child.[3] This Act speaks of rights, and then goes on to discuss the details of contracts and relationships in terms more suited to a timeshare agreement. The rights of the child under discussion in a PCPA are apparently non-existent.

ARPA clearly explains some of the legal implications of this bill for all people in Ontario:

Bill 28 does not simply create or add new kinds of families. It redefines all families, present and future. By removing references to “mother”, “father”, “natural parents”, and “blood” relations from Ontario law, and by creating alternative, contractual “families” between multiple unmarried and unrelated adults and children conceived further to their “parentage agreements”, Bill 28 knocks family law even further off its foundations.[4]

Several times the bill uses the phrase “in the child’s best interests,” although these interests are never actually defined, and will of course be determined by the courts. It does not seem to have occurred to anyone that it is almost always in a child’s best interests to be raised by and with its mother and father. When we have reached the absurd point of ‘four-parent’ families consisting of unrelated individuals, we are way beyond a rational judgement concerning the child’s best interests – we are in the realm of the dystopian engineering of revolutionary elites in an increasingly totalitarian order.

John Sikkema correctly observes that “Bill 28 creates separated families by design, with more ‘parents,’ and without requiring any prior agreement on how the child will be cared for.” He challenges the rhetoric of justice that has been used to advance the bill, asking “do I really have a right to be the parent to a child who is not my natural child? Am I really treated unjustly because I must apply to a court to be so recognized?”[5]

Further, it is no injustice (unless the term is radically perverted by identity politics) to observe that God has created men and women for one another in marriage, and that children are a natural result of such marriage. Alternative definitions of the family, like the ones we are seeing before us, require great amounts of scientific manipulation and legal intervention to realize and legitimize. If all these socially-contrived ‘families’ were truly equal, we would not need to go to such extreme measures to stack the reproductive deck.

Marriage is God’s first creational institution, defined as between one man and one woman as husband and wife (Gen. 2:24). It is into this family structure that children are designed to be born and raised. Unfettered by the creational bonds of blood or marriage, the commitment between ‘parents’ in a PCPA is, in reality, no stronger than the paper it’s printed on.

Scripturally-literate Christians are not surprised to find that all studies show divorce is bad for a child – that should now go without saying. Even the most optimistic reports are able to say no better than that children of divorced parents can hope to eventually recover from the trauma.[6] But Bill 28 has exponentially and deliberately multiplied the prospects of separation, custody disputes, and all manner of parental acrimony in this reckless legislation. The damaging impact of a four-way ‘parental’ separation on a child is a terrifying and bewildering prospect.

Divorce, custody battles, domestic violence or abuse and other dysfunctions among those in normative family structures are serious issues that must be addressed today by those who care about the family and its future. Even when a social structure is God-ordained, as is the institution of marriage, sinful people will still find a way to introduce disorder into God’s order. Critically, though, we all recognize that such dysfunctions are indeed instances of disorder to be concerned with, addressed and resolved; they are obvious deviations from the norm.

Certainly to face the challenge of being a single parent or in a blended family is a better situation than to be in an abusive marriage. Better than both, however, is to be in a faithful, supportive, mutually-edifying marriage relationship with one person for life. But in the case of “families” written into existence by a PCPA, the creational order is radically subverted and the structure dysfunctional from the very start. The best-case scenario is already bad, by design.

From a Christian perspective, children are a treasure and heritage from the Lord, made in the image of God, and have a God-ordained right to be raised in the familial context of a mother and father in terms of God’s pattern. To treat children as a matter of contractual agreement is to commodify and objectify them and so despise a critical part of their humanity for the sake of accommodating the socially-expressed narcissism of various identity groups portraying themselves as victims because they can’t get their hands on other people’s children without going to the courts.

In short, this is another instance of governments bending to the demands of those who want ‘rights’ that openly violate normative, creational reality. It is driven by a desire to remake the world to bend to the sexual predilections of moral rebels. The result will be more dysfunction, tragedy and ruin, with the most vulnerable as the victims of this mad social experimentation.

Bill 28 is on its way to becoming the law of the land in Ontario. For all its talk of concern for children and families, its framers care nothing for them; if they did they would protect the natural family – the ‘justice’ motif is a hollow pretense. But for all their efforts, bureaucrats and technicians cannot change human nature, nor alter God’s unshakeable order. Politicians and courts cannot finally alter, with bills and regulations, God’s family norm for creation any more than the law of gravity can be altered. When you violate the law of gravity by jumping out of a plane without a parachute, reality comes rushing to meet you and creation’s law wins the dispute.

In the face of such anti-God legislation, Christians have the responsibility to teach the law-Word of God diligently to our children (Deut. 6:7), to raise them to know and love the Lord and his Word, and to cling to his promises. At the same time, by our prayers, witness, advocacy and example we defend the family, the orphan and widow and teach the nations everything that Christ has commanded us. As we do so faithfully, we are assured that, in due time, by God’s grace and strength the tide will turn again as reality rushes up to meet those who despise God’s Word. There is only one creator, one law and one king, and he does not share power or fail to uphold his truth. As for those who insist on continuing this assault on children, the warning of Jesus Christ is clear:

And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me. But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea! Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes (Matt. 18:5-7)

 

[2] “Bill 28, All Families Are Equal Act (Parentage and Related Registrations Statute Law Amendment), 2016,” Legislative Assembly of Ontario, last modified November 29 2016, http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=4176&isCurrent=&BillStagePrintId=7453&btnSubmit=go.

[3] “Bill 28,” 1.2.1b.

[4] “FAQ on Ontario’s Bill 28, the ‘All Families Are Equal Act,’” ARPA Canada, last modified November 10 2016, https://arpacanada.ca/news/2016/11/10/faq-ontarios-bill-28-families-equal-act/.

[5] John Sikkema, “John Sikkema: Ontario’s new law will put children second to parenthood,” National Post, last modified November 28 2016, http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/john-sikkema-ontarios-new-law-will-put-children-second-to-parenthood.

[6] Hal Arkowitz, Scott O. Lilienfield, “Is Divorce bad for Children?,” Scientific American, last modified March 1 2013, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/