The Mail on Sunday's front page screams BATTLE FOR A CHILD'S RIGHT TO A FATHER. It accuses the government of wanting to drive the last nail in the coffin of the traditional family. The article centres on the government's proposed legislation to give Lesbians full parental rights over test-tube babies. The father's role would be redundant after donating the sperm. Apparently, as the law stands at the moment IVF clinics have to ensure that the spermdonor is given the chance to be involved in the upbringing of the child. The new law removes that right for the father. MPs from all parties are opposing the proposal, but it will undoubtedly be whipped through.
I find this a really difficult issue. Ideally every child would be brought up by a mother AND a father. Many of society's problems stem from the fact that many children nowadays have nomale influence in their life. However, we must deal with society as it is today, not how we might like it to be. The most important thing for any child is to have a stable upbringing in a loving home. Gay and Lesbian couple are very able to provide such an environment and thousands of them do today, mainly through adoption.
Iain Duncan Smith has written a powerful comment piece in the Mail on Sunday asserting that Labour is sending out the signal that father's don't matter. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor says: "It radically undermines the place of the father in a child'slife and makethe natural rights of the child subordinate to the couple's desires.'
Those in favour of the legislation point out that it will affect no more than a few hundred couples a year and accuse those arguing against of using specious arguments which mask their own homophobia.
I make no apology for being genuinely undecided on this issue. I can see both sides of the argument. I will be following the debates closely and make up my mind when I have heard, and understood, all the arguments.