The movement demanding legal recognition for same-sex marriage has made a radical and profoundly uncharitable assumption.
It is this: Adult homosexuals need and have a greater right to same-sex marriage than babies have to their mothers.
You cannot simultaneously claim babies have a right to their mothers and two men have a right to marry each other.
Nor, of course, can you simultaneously claim babies have right to their fathers and two women have a right to marry each other.
Notably, advocates of same-sex marriage do not argue that babies have a either a right or a need for a father or a mother. They argue instead that babies neither need nor have a right to either parent.
In the case of Bostic v. Schaeffer, a group of homosexual couples challenged the Virginia state constitutional amendment, approved by 57 percent of the state's voters, that defined marriage as the union of one man and one women and prohibited extending a "legal status" to "unmarried couples" that granted them the "effects of marriage."
The American Psychological Association joined the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers and the Virginia Psychological Association in filing a brief in this case arguing that same-sex marriage is a wholesome thing.
Crucial to their argument was that children are as well off when raised by same-sex married couples as when they are raised by their fathers and mothers.
"There is no scientific basis for concluding that same-sex couples are any less fit or capable parents than heterosexual couples, or that their children are any less psychologically healthy and well adjusted," the amici told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
In his opinion in Bostic v. Schaeffer, in which he declared same-sex marriage a constitutionally-protected right, Judge Henry Floyd rejected the argument that Virginia's marriage law safeguarded the interest of children to be raised by a mother and father. Citing the brief submitted by the APA and its allies, Floyd said: "We find the arguments that the opponents [of Virgnia's law] and their amici make on this issue extremely persuasive."
But in arriving at the astounding conclusion that "there is no scientific basis for concluding that same-sex couples are any less fit or capable parents than heterosexual couples," the APA and its allies leapt over the most basic of scientific facts about parenthood. Two people of the same sex cannot create a child. Babies are conceived by mothers and fathers.
Traditionally, Western civilization has recognized that a basic moral fact is inextricably tied to this basic biological one: The mother and father who conceive a child have a moral responsibility to care for that child and see that child through to adulthood. Indeed, they have a moral responsibility to fulfill the duties of parents throughout their lives.
Inevitably, this pattern is sometimes interrupted by tragedy -- e.g. a parent dies -- or moral failings -- e.g. one or both parents abandon, or are otherwise incapable of carrying out, their parental responsibilities.
But in the vision of same-sex marriage advocates, the government will now sanction the deliberate obstruction of the family structure from the outside.
For two men in a same-sex marriage to gain custody of a child, they must somehow physically and legally get that child from its mother.
On July 6, the New York Times ran a story -- headlined "Coming to U.S. for a Baby, and Womb to Carry It" -- describing one of the ways this is currently happening.
"Other than the United States, only a few countries--among them India, Thailand, Ukraine and Mexico -- allow paid surrogacy," the Times reported.
"As a result," the Times said, "there is an increasing flow in the opposite direction, with the United States drawing affluent couples from Europe, Asia and Australia. Indeed, many large surrogacy agencies in the United States say international clients --gay, straight, married or single -- provide the bulk of their business.
"The traffic," said the Times, "highlights a divide between the United States and much of the world over fundamental questions about what constitutes a family, who is considered a legal parent, who is eligible for citizenship and whether paid childbirth is a service or exploitation."
Here a mother is reduced to a human mule. She carries a child she is legally required to surrender into the custody of the person who has paid to use her body -- if not her soul.
The baby is never consulted. He or she, in the course of this transaction, is merely a commodity.