To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others. — Pope John Paul II

eltonDolce-Gabbana-Panorama

Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce are two successful designers of luxury clothing for men and women who launched their fashion house in 1985 in Legnano, Italy. They are gay and were romantically linked as a couple from 1980 to 2008 before parting ways, but their business partnership prevails and they continue to prosper. Recently, in an interview for the Italian magazine Panorama, they expressed controversial opinions on gay parenting and reproductive technologies. In short they asserted: “we oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one,” and “no chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.” Stefano Gabbana added, “the family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.” (as cited in the National Post) This was not the first time they expressed this point of view. In an interview with an Italian newspaper in 2006, Stefano Gabbana stated: “I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents […] A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother.” (as cited in Pink News) Their public condemnation of gay parenting came as a surprise to many as they are gay and were a couple for several years. Interestingly, in expressing their opinions on gay parenting and reproductive technologies they reflect the official position of the Catholic Church on these issues. These are serious issues and bear examination in greater detail as the rights and happiness of gay parents and their children are at stake.

The official position of the Catholic Church is the condemnation of gay sex and expectation that gay people practice chastity on the grounds that gay sex acts “are contrary to the natural law.” The natural law to which the Catholic Church refers is defined as “is law whose content derives naturally from human nature or physical nature, and therefore has universal validity.” (New World Encyclopedia) On that premise, gay sex acts are condemned as “they close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church) Not surprisingly, it follows that official Catholic teachings condemn gay marriage and family life as contrary to the natural law. Regarding the desire of gay couples to have children of their own, either through adoption or available reproductive technologies, the Catholic Church maintains:

A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The “supreme gift of marriage” is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged “right to a child” would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right “to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,” and “the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Furthermore, the Catholic Church made its position concerning reproductive technologies clear in 2008 with the publication of Instruction dignitas personae on certain bioethical questions, which asserts the following:

new medical techniques must respect three fundamental goods: a) the right to life and to physical integrity of every human being from conception to natural death; b) the unity of marriage, which means reciprocal respect for the right within marriage to become a father or mother only together with the other spouse; c) the specifically human values of sexuality which require “that the procreation of a human person be brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses” (Instruction dignitas personae on certain bioethical questions)

Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce’s condemnation of gay parenting and reproductive technologies did not go unnoticed by gay parents. The British pop star, Elton John, himself a gay father who, with his husband David Furnish, has two sons (Zachary and Elijah) by means of surrogacy, took exception to their remarks, condemning them publicly and is calling on consumers to boycott the Dolce & Gabbana line of luxury clothing.  In response to Domenico Dolce’s remark “I call children of chemistry ‘synthetic children.’ Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalogue,” (as cited in Pink News) Elton John posted the following on Instagram: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic.’ And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children.” (as cited in ET)

Why Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce, two openly gay men who were a couple for several years, choose to condemn gay parenting is anyone’s guess. I think it is reasonable to infer that as they are Italians they grew up in a society that is overwhelmingly Catholic. Their view of family life was shaped by Italian society and its Catholic culture. Still, they found the strength of character to live openly as a gay couple, rather than accept the calling to chastity the Catholic Church expects of gay people. Moreover, their condemnation of reproductive technologies is directed solely at gay people. The official position of the Catholic Church is that reproductive technologies are contrary to the natural law meaning this condemnation applies to heterosexual couples equally. The reality is reproductive technologies are available for those who want to apply them regardless of what Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce and the Catholic Church have to say. In the last analysis, these are entirely matters of marital privacy. What is important is that children are wanted and raised by loving parents in a happy and stable family, whether their parents are gay or heterosexual.

Posted by Geoffrey

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