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Non-traditional families and human relationships

Speaking at a meeting about family policy, Robert Tufigno stated that recognition of non-traditional family units was "detrimental to society". His remark, as deleterious to gullible minds as it is baseless, continues to highlight the total ignorance about human relationships that exists in certain people's limited world view. The assertion that recognition of other people's relationships would somehow be "detrimental to society" would be laughable were it not so extremely dangerous.

There exist a plethora of things that are indeed detrimental to society and need urgent addressing. One could think of greed, corruption, terrorism, violence, rape, ostracism, xenophobia, hostility, famine, prejudice and many other social ills, which are indeed - contrary to any couple's love for one another - at the centre of what makes today's world a very sad one. And yet the Cana movement who Dr Tufigno was representing sees a threat to society in the recognition of relationships of dedicated couples who want nothing but equal protection under the law. How misguided and how very sad.

Interestingly, Dr Tufigno's warnings sound eerily similar to the predictions of doom made before anti-miscegenation laws were done away with in the 1960s. Back then, opponents of racial equality and the recognition of inter-racial relationships also justified their prejudice by predicting that protecting the traditional family would necessitate vetoing relationships between people of different racial ancestry on the basis that these were detrimental to society. Hindsight shows us how incredibly off-mark those predictions were, and history will show just how equally flawed today's arguments also are. I seriously doubt many people today will believe that having diverse relationships recognised will step on their own relationships. I would, however, have liked to hear about how the recognition of my relationship with a boyfriend would somehow interfere with, devalue, if not totally demolish, the relationships of my brother with his girlfriend, that of my married parents with each other or that of any other dedicated couple. The fact is, it clearly wouldn't, and a growing number of people is recognising that.

Finally, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family units want none of the "compassion" and the "solidarity" expressed by Dr Tufigno on behalf of the Cana movement. Until compassion is replaced with respect and solidarity with equality, these statements will be nothing more than unfortunate rhetoric that clouds minds and pollutes actions.

And while the religious and political authorities - who one would be excused in thinking are one and the same - are busy listing the ways in which LGBT families should not be considered families at all, these same family units continue to do what families do, while waiting for the authorities to one day realise that what makes a family is behaviour and not gender.

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