Public Discourse 19 March 2015
When a public war of words erupted a few days ago between Sir Elton John and world famous Italian designers Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana, a mostly ignored schism within the gay community was suddenly cast in high relief. Trust me, I know. I’m a gay man opposed to gay marriage. Dolce and Gabbana are bravely standing against a future of state-enforced genderlessness, against a tidal wave of adult selfishness that overwhelms children’s rights and their best interests, and against the meddling government jigsaw that has continued to split, carve, and slice family life over the last few decades—especially for the poor, minorities, and the most vulnerable. And the most vulnerable and silent minority is, of course, children.
The Synthetic Creation of Children
Sir Elton John’s biggest complaint— understandably so—against Dolce and Gabbana was about their statement that children engineered for same-sex marriages are in some way synthetic:
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as “synthetic.” And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF—a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again.
While Dolce’s wording on this point is unfortunate, there is a truth hidden within. It’s not the children who are synthetic, for all human beings share equal dignity. Rather, it’s the process through which they come into the world.
And when it comes to that process, it seems that anything goes. While the adoption industry has been heavily regulated—and rightfully so—engineering children through gamete purchase and womb rental falls under no such restrictions. Any infertile couple working with a reputable adoption agency knows that the window of opportunity for adopting newborns closes as you approach forty years of age. After that, you may only adopt older children. But for wealthy white gay males, there are no rules, only endless options for accessorizing their lives with humans.
Sir Elton John was sixty-three years old when his first child was born through surrogacy and sixty-five at the birth of his second. His partner, David Furnish, was forty-eight and fifty. When their younger child graduates from high school, they will be eighty-one and sixty-eight. At his college graduation, they’ll be eighty-five and seventy-two. Children deserve biological parents—a mom and a dad—not two middle-aged guys approaching old age when the kids are infants and years beyond receiving their first Social Security checks when they are teenagers.
It grieves me to criticize any family. I know Sir Elton John and David Furnish love their children and are devoted fathers, but the point remains: the interests of children should always outweigh the interests of adults who want children.
It wasn’t very long ago that Sir Elton John’s views were aligned with those of Dolce and Gabbana. In 2008, he said that civil partnerships—not marriages—were more appropriate for gays. As recently as 2012, John said, “It’s going to be heartbreaking for [our child] to grow up and realise he hasn’t got a mummy.”
Domenico Dolce, in using the phrase “synthetic children,” is drawing attention to the fact that “Life has a natural flow; there are things that cannot be changed.” Complementarity cannot be changed. Natural law, just like the laws of physics, can be neither changed nor suspended—at least not without dire consequences. If we rush headlong into changing this nation’s definition of marriage through judicial fiat, even if we have the very best of intentions, we might once again invite epic disaster for children, whose stories will emerge only as they become adults.