Same-sex adoptions: not up to the public

This blogpost was first published on www.timesofmalta.com

I’m not a fan of surveys. I don’t believe in true random sampling, so I really look askance whenever we read about how X% want the government to do this and Y% want the exact opposite.

I’m even more sceptical when the results of a survey happen to prove the point that the person commissioning was trying to make. I’ve already given my views about the so-called neutrality of commissioned surveys here: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120601/blogs/hunting-for-logic.422290#.UtPt7vuAqkc

Which is why I’m taking the revelation that 80% of Maltese are against same-sex adoption (http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140112/local/Survey-80-per-cent-against-gay-adoption.502248#.UtPnxvuAqkc) with an equal pinch of salt.

This survey saw 500 people being interviewed upon commission by an interested party, the church. No matter which way I look at it, I can never be convinced that, because of this, the results are not warped.

However, let’s concede for the sake of argument that 80% of Maltese are, indeed, against adoption by same-sex couples. Should the opinion of these 80% have any bearing on the final legislation? The imperfect workings of democracy have a funny way of making us think that just because the majority have decreed their will, then that must be right.

Well, wrong actually. Even if 80% were to genuinely be against same-sex adoptions, it doesn’t make it morally okay to deny same-sex couples this right.

There were other points in the survey results that made me raise an eyebrow. Those over 65 years of age are even more against, we are told, with opposition standing at 92%.

With all due respect, how much weight should we give to the opinion of this particular age group when dealing with issues of this nature? They are the ones who will be least impacted by the introduction of the law. And human nature being what it is, they are also the ones most likely to be in opposition.

Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna stated that politicians have a duty to take note of the people’s opposition to same-sex adoptions. I beg to differ. Politicians have a duty to take note of the rights of gay couples. But they have no such duty towards those who are doing their utmost to deny them these rights.

And anyway, since when are politicians expected to take note of our opposition to anything? No-one bats an eyelid when the electorate collectively opposes other types of legislation. If we are going to equate unpopularity with immorality, then tax laws should be removed pronto. Truth is, it should never be the people who decide on this particular issue. I said it when the whole divorce saga cropped up, and I’ll say it again – our law-makers need to do stop passing the buck and shoulder responsibility. Go forth and legislate, even when such legislation might mean a loss of votes.

Here’s hoping that our politicians do the right thing, for once.

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