Ontario’s Bill 28: “All Families Are Equal Act”

Ontario’s Bill 28, otherwise known as the “All Families Are Equal Act,” was a bill that the Ontario (Canada) government adopted at the end of this past November. According to an article from the Ministry of the Attorney General,

Today [November 29], Ontario passed legislation that will ensure equal treatment for all parents and children in the province. Bill 28, the All Families Are Equal Act, 2016, recognizes the legal status of all parents, whether they are LGBTQ2+ or straight, and whether their children were conceived with or without assistance.1

The article goes on to say that the adoption of the bill is “another way Ontario is supporting families across the province.”2 In reality, Bill 28 is a disturbing attack on the family, and an attempt radically to redefine what a family is.

On its website, the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA Canada) gives some details as to what the adopted piece of legislation is all about:

Bill 28, the Orwellian “All Families Are Equal Act,” removes the terms “mother” and “father” from all Ontario law, to be replaced with “parent.” The bill also eliminates the basic assumption of Ontario law that a child has no more than two parents. It eradicates the traditional categories of natural or adoptive parents and removes all references to persons being the “natural parents” of a child and to persons being related “by blood”….

Under the bill, a child can have up to four “parents” at birth where two, three, or four parties agree in writing to be parents to a child yet to be conceived [this is referred to as a “Pre-Conception Parentage Agreement,” or, “PCPA”]. The bill requires the “birth parent” (the “person who gives birth to the child,” not necessarily the biological mother) to be a party to a PCPA and therefore a legal parent…. If the child is to be conceived “without the use of assisted reproduction” (i.e., naturally), the law also requires “the person who intends to be the biological father of the child” to be party to the PCPA. If assisted reproduction is used, the biological father need not be a party to the PCPA. In a PCPA, the spouse of the “birth parent” also need not be a party to the agreement (and thus not a parent to the child) if he or she provides written confirmation before the child is conceived that he or she does not consent to be a parent of the child.3

In other words, a child could conceivably be born, and have four “parents,” without any of the four “parents” actually being the child’s biological parent. None of these “parents” are referred to as “father” or “mother”—they are simply a “parent.” Conceivably, a child could be born under Ontario law to four “parents” who are all women (or even all men, in the case of a surrogacy), and who have no other relationship/connection to each other than simply that they have signed an agreement to be co-parents to the child. This is how the Ontario government would like to define a “family,” and make all families “equal.”

ARPA Canada goes on to mention a few of the ways this legislation is dangerous:

Bill 28 commodifies children—objects to be produced and possessed…. The bill also denies the reality of sexual difference. It removes the terms “mother” and “father” from Ontario law completely, reflecting the government’s view that there is no difference between a mother and a father and that a child does not need both. The bill also completely discounts the important link between marriage, or even a long-term committed relationship between two people, and the healthy upbringing of children.4

In reality, Bill 28 renders marriage, common-law relationships, and blood relationships entirely insignificant when it comes to family law.

In another article, ARPA Canada goes on to explain,

The bill gives the illusion of greater freedom. It gives people more “options” to choose from as they determine what a family is for them. But if the state can redefine the family and offer more “options” or “rights” by knocking family law off its foundations of marriage and blood relations, it can also take rights away. What will become of parental rights if a “family” is whatever the state says it is and a “parent” is whoever the state says is a parent. It’s hard to know, but it’s deeply disconcerting. …Make no mistake, education policy and curriculum (among other government policies and programs) will fall in line with Bill 28’s radical changes to Ontario law. This is about more than immediate practical consequences to my parental rights or yours—it is about embedding a false understanding of who we are as human beings into the law.5

The ARPA Canada article goes on to point out how Bill 28 might even make it more difficult for some couples to adopt children:

If a couple holds the view that children do best when raised by a married mother and father…, or even that children are better off with a married couple as parents than a group of four co-signers of a contract, their views would be plainly contrary to the “All Families Are Equal Act.” Consequently, it may be considered contrary to public policy to place adoptive children with people who hold such beliefs.6

Sad to say, the legislation passed unanimously. Romans 1:22 comes to mind: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

Disney’s Moana

Disney has come out with another animated movie, Moana. “Moana” is the name of the main character of the movie, a teenaged girl from a Hawaiian island. The main plot of the story goes as follows: Moana sets out on the ocean to find Maui, a demigod, so that she might right an ancient wrong, and save her people. You might say that the story is just another new spin on the typical Disney princess story—Moana being the princess.

I have not watched the movie. However, I draw attention to the movie because I want to share a few excerpts from a review I came across online that I thought were very insightful. What follows are a few thoughts that Nathanael Smith gave on the online blog, THINK:

Disney are back once again with Moana and the extent to which you already appreciate the studio will determine how much you get out of their latest. I’m an unabashed fan of Disney and I loved it…. Yet there is still a nagging feeling, when watching Moana, that Disney are stuck in a thematic rut…. Moana herself is actually a great heroine and displays many admirable qualities; part of her self-discovery comes through learning new skills and finding bravery in the face of terrifying sights. Yet my thematic beef with the film boils down to one conversation she has with Maui when they are sailing at night. She discovers that everything Maui has done was to earn the approval of others, to gain affirmation from people cheering his name. It looks like there’s going to be a genuinely powerful message behind it, then Moana literally says that perhaps Maui “was worthy of being saved.” Both characters then go on to prove their ‘worthiness,’ proving that you should be yourself as long as yourself is a hero who can defeat lava monsters. Then you’ll find true satisfaction.

It would be easy for Christians to react against surface details in Moana, such as the existence of reincarnation and an arrogant demi-god who makes a lot of similar claims to Yahweh in the book of Job. Yet such details are far less likely to affect audiences than its central message. Kids are more likely to try and find salvation within themselves than convert to Polynesian polytheism. It’s frustrating because after almost two decades of being told to “be yourself ” and “look inside,” western culture still hasn’t found the magic bullet for happiness. Surely by now we’ve worked out that unrestrained independence isn’t the key to the deep dissatisfaction that troubles human hearts? We’ve tried that. To hear a message about self-actualisation once more from Disney makes it harder than ever to just dismiss the ideologies being perpetuated by the studio when they are so persistent with it.7

I thought that was insightful. It is very important for parents to be aware of the ideologies that are being promoted by the animated movies their children are watching. Because the reality is, we live in a culture that emphasizes to the extreme this idea of “self-actualization,” and the “pursuit of happiness.” This is why the Ontario government is changing its definition of the family—so that everyone can choose the kind of family he wants for himself, fulfill his own deepest desires, and be satisfied in life. In this respect, many Disney movies are no different in the message they convey. It’s the culture we live in. In the end, it’s idolatry. And in truth, it’s the culture that Disney has helped shape.

And the reality is: it’s affecting the children. More and more, children are growing up being trained to believe that a fulfilling life is found in “discovering oneself” and “realizing one’s inner person.” They have been raised to believe in a lie when it comes to where they will find their happiness. And the lie always disappoints in the end. Such a worldview is only setting up children for struggles with discontentment. Even in Christian circles, more and more we are seeing children growing up who are falling into the habit of believing that God exists to affirm their deepest desires, whether those be material, emotional, sexual, or otherwise.

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: have we also, perhaps unawares, been contributing to this way of thinking amongst our own children? Have we ourselves in certain respects bought into this kind of a worldview? Are we even sensitive to it? Jesus makes it clear: “… Blessed [happy!] are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28). But Satan comes along and says, “Yea, hath God said?” The false gospel comes in many different shapes and sizes. And our sinful natures always agree with Satan.

1 Ministry of the Attorney General, “Ontario Passes Law Ensuring Equal Recognition for All Parents and Children,” Ontario Newsroom, © Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2016. accessed December 30, 2016, https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2016/11/ontariopasses-law-ensuring-equal-rights-for-all-parents-and-children.html.

2 Attorney General, “Ontario Passes Law.”

3 “What’s A Family, Anyway? Ontario Government to Radically Change Family Law,” Association for Reformed Political Action Canada, October 21, 2016, accessed December 30, 2016, https://arpacanada.ca/news/2016/10/21/whats-family-anyway-ontario-government-radically-change-family-law. (Interestingly [or, sadly], because the Ontario government wanted to remove completely the term “father” from the bill, it had to change the term “biological father” [as used in the quotation above] to “the person whose sperm resulted in the conception of a child.” It seems that terms such as “father” and “mother” are not politically correct anymore.)

4 ARPAC, “What’s a Family, Anyway?”

5 “FAQ on Ontario’s Bill 28, The ‘All Families Are Equal Act’,” Association for Reformed Political Action Canada, Nov 10, 2016, accessed December 31, 2016, https://arpacanada.ca/news/2016/11/10/faq-ontarios-bill-28-families-equal-act.

6 ARPAC, “All Families Are Equal Act.”

7 Nathanael Smith, “Film Review: Moana,” THINK, December 8, 2016, accessed December 31, 2016, http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/film_review_moana.