(Originally published in World News Group)
The progressive legal push to redefine the family continues unabated. Last month, the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services proposed to redefine de-sex parenthood in law—avoiding gender-specific terms. The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) wants to replace the gender-specific terms “mother” and “father” with the gender-neutral term “parent,” remove the words his and her and replace them with their and swap gender specific paternity with gender-neutral parentage. HHS’s justification for neutralizing language that points to self-evident realities is, of course, to be “inclusive of all family structures.” But far from simply expanding who can be considered “family,” these changes threaten parental and children’s rights for everyone.
The HHS move is just the next stop along the progressive line of marriage and family destruction, fueled by efforts to advance “equality” for adults. The OCSS proposal itself tracks how we went from the self-evident, natural family composed of mother/father/child to refusing to even speak gendered terms in law.
It began with the 2015 Obergefell Supreme Court ruling, which argued that marriage has nothing to do with children. It was reinforced in 2017 by the case of Pavan vs Smith, which essentially argued the opposite, including the demand of parenthood rights for an unrelated child. Since 2017, the same anti-family logic has been officially codified in various states through the Uniform Parentage Act, which extends parenthood to unrelated “de facto parents” who are exempt from the rigors of adoption screening simply because they “intend” to raise the child. Last year’s laughably named Respect for Marriage Act legislatively cemented the gender-optional conception of marriage and family. Now, the HHS wants to strip gendered words from this area of familial law altogether.
These moves all aim at the same end goal: the legal obliteration of the biological bond between parent and child. That’s because the Modern Family is predicated on children losing one or both biological parents. Gendered words such as mother, father, and paternity are thus archenemies of the progressive social agenda because they reinforce the reality that biology actually has a significant role to play in family creation and formation. Even itty-bitty his and her must be erased so that no one gets the idea that male or female offer anything unique to home life or the well-being of children. Only when biology is obsolete in our cultural and legal conception of the family will adults be truly “equal.”
In response, you may reason, “Wow, the world’s gone mad but at least they aren’t coming for my kids.” You would be mistaken. The diminishing of biological bonds threatens mothers and fathers and sons and daughters everywhere. And it always begins with the redefinition of marriage.
Upon passage of gay marriage in 2005, Canada classified all parents—biological, adopted, or “intended”—as “legal” parents. Now, the Canadian government, not biology, determines who is and is not a parent. This parental reclassification has further eroded the concepts of the natural family; now, Canadian children can have up to four parents if the state so assigns. And, of course, Canada will gladly strip biological parents of their rights should they ideologically run afoul of the government. If the state can give, the state can take.
Constitutional scholar Jeff Shafer, director of the Hale Institute, explains that via these proposals, the HHS is helping to erase the natural family from the law. By eliminating the words “mother and father, maternity and paternity, he and she” the government is “removing the categories of mother and father, all together.” He explains, “If there is no legally cognizable difference between father and mother and a genetic stranger, the family itself is abolished in principle.” Biological bonds of all stripes, including the ones between you and your own children, are under threat when the law cannot be permitted to make distinctions between male and female. The result is that there will be no such thing as “your family.” There will only be a state-constructed family.
This has especially dire consequences for children. Shafer notes, “once the law drops filial relation as a primal and binding truth of family law, it entails (among other things) a reclassification of the child. He no longer enters existence in immediate and ineradicable relation to forebears. The child is thus without a proper claim to a particular family and lineage, or to the love and care by the persons whose maleness and femaleness in unifying relation was responsible for his existence, identity, and characteristics. In principle, he is up for grabs. The child is homeless until the law, by its rules, assigns him a home.” De-sexing parenthood language is a precondition for the commodification of children.
The redefinition of family threatens every mother and father and child. It’s past time for conservatives to vocally oppose these efforts to destroy the natural family. We must never waver on the importance of gender, and by extension biology, in our cultural and legal conceptions of the family. The well-being of your children, and all children, depends on it.