Hans Wessels

Hans Wessels:

It is profoundly disturbing to observe the current discussion on limiting fertility treatment for lesbian couples and single mothers. In a country that often prides itself on social justice and equality it marks a step in the wrong direction, one in which instead of increasing the rights of minorities, their rights are effectively curbed. In the process of this discussion I have many times heard the argument that a child needs a known and active father. I find this logic very strange and even insulting. If I ever have a child I would like my presence in its life to matter because of who I am, how involved I am and how much love I can give. I would not want me being a parent to depend on me being a man or being straight. I hope to be more than that. Yet this proposed legislation works against this desire. It doesn’t ask me whether I or the mother are good parents. It only requires us to be straight, no more.

Being a parent is not a right you have based on your gender or sexuality. It is an act of responsibility, love and care towards a child. This does not depend on whether one is a man or a woman, straight or gay. It is in that sense crucial that we redefine the notion of family to become a unit of care and love, regardless of its participants. It is important to notice that redefining the family will be beneficial for lesbian and gay as well as straight couples. Especially for men it will remind them that their traditional role of contributing sperm and working hard to provide for ’wife and child’ is simply not enough. It will remind them that the definition of parent should broaden to include active involvement and care regardless of biological lineage.

But above all this is a simple matter of civil rights. It is a matter of granting all people the possibility to extend their love to a child regardless of their sexuality. The introduction of this law would be no more that an act of discrimination in which one minority is deemed unfit to have the same rights as the majority. In a society that boasts social justice and equality is is shameful that this discussion takes place at all.

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