If you're one of those Australians I would ask you to read on with an open mind. Tiberge at Gallia Watch has translated part of a debate in the French senate on the family. France recently legalised same sex marriage, despite very considerable public opposition. Now a further new law is being considered, one that will promote a "diversity" of family types.
The debate begins with a comment from the ruling Socialist Party Minister for the Family, Dominique Bertinotti:
I am convinced that the Senate's efforts will be towards the consolidation of this advancement for equality. This law is part of a silent revolution.
She states openly in the French senate that what is happening in France is a "silent revolution." She is not arguing that nothing significant will change; rather it is a revolution from above - from socialists like herself.
Alain Gournac, from the more conservative UMP, then reminds her of the mass, popular demonstrations in defence of the traditional family that have taken place in France:
The silence of a million people in the street!
But the socialist lawmaker is undeterred:
Sexuality is henceforth disassociated from conjugal life and from procreation.
She is saying that marriage and having children is no longer based on the heterosexual couple of husband and wife.
Another female Socialist Party senator, Michelle Meunier, then chimes in:
This bill is part of the slogan of our Republic. It allows homosexuals to have a family. Let's admit it. It leads the family out of the fantasy of "one mother, one father and one child"...
She labels the traditional family a "fantasy." The debate has reached a point at which the traditional family is denigrated in the French senate.
Charles Revet, again from the UMP, then calls out to object:
It's not a fantasy! What are you saying!
But the Socialist Party senator continues:
...because that family has never been universal. In all periods, parents have brought into the world children that they couldn't or wouldn't accept responsibility for. In all periods, children have been raised by persons other than the father and mother. What causes the problem is this idealized "hetero-patriarchal-white" family, that is further and further removed from reality. The law must adapt. (...)
Again, she reveals her hostility to the traditional family: she labels it the "hetero-patriarchal-white" family and states that it is increasingly removed from reality.
The more right-wing senators reacted with indignation to her comments, but yet another left-wing female senator, Esther Benbassa, a Green, continued along the same theme:
Protect the child? Everybody is for it! The child needs a father and a mother? Pure ideology, just like the concept of a traditional family, the pattern of "daddy-mommy-child" is a broken model which recomposed and single-parent families long ago abandoned.
She states that it is "pure ideology" that a child needs a father and a mother. This is, in effect, dissolving of family relationships. If a man, for instance, believes that his presence within a family is a necessary one, and that by abandoning his wife and children he will do harm, then he is much more likely to stay and to invest a lot of himself in his roles of husband and father. At the same time, if his wife believes his role to be a necessary one, both for her sake and that of the children, she is likely to act to keep him involved within the family.
But let's say a man really believed what Esther Benbassa claimed in the French senate, that a child doesn't need a father. If that is true, then why would a man put much effort into fatherhood? His children don't need him to do this, at least according to the women socialists. So why, then, make such sacrifices for the sake of the family?
The logic of the new family is male disinvestment in family life. It's possible that the female socialists do intuitively grasp this and welcome it as part of their attempts to dissolve the "hetero-patriarchal-white" family. It's possible that there are ordinary French people who grasp the same thing, hence the mass demonstrations against the socialist laws and the abysmal approval ratings for the French President, Francois Hollande.
It seems to me that the only way things might work out in France is if there is a disconnect between what is officially approved and what ordinary men really think and believe. If the state takes as a principle the idea that families don't need a father, but ordinary men hold to the opposite view that their role is a significant and necessary one, then society might be able to hold together.
But isn't there a risk that men will be influenced over time by what is held at an official level to be true? Isn't there a risk that men will be drawn into a state sponsored culture in which the presence of a father within a family is thought to be unnecessary?