Figaro (France) 9 Jan 2013
Translated from French
At age 66, Jean-Dominique Bunel, opposes the bill opening adoption to homosexual couples. He has decided to break the silence to tell how his life was affected by the fact of having two mothers.
There’s no scandal, as a mature single man he has no excessive rancor. During his life he has “given”, most of it in the service of humanitarian organizations in countries at war as in Bosnia, where he spent four years, from 1992 to 1996. In Iraq, where he coordinated all Caritas aid and where he had to be exfiltrated in 2004, after the removal of his team.
In Burundi and Rwanda he lived a very hard experience. He recounts these memories in a book published by L’Harmattan in 2010, a book on humanitarian wars. This doctor is a specialist humanitarian who knows the law and genocide. He is not a choirboy, even in the midst of adventuring and emergency missions, he retains a sensitive heart.
At the bottom is a personal tragedy that he never spoke of until the government’s plan to allow the adoption of children by homosexual couples. All of a sudden there is a revolt both intimate and mute.
How to say it…the effect of the suffering of being raised by two women, mother and friend of the latter, without neglecting his love for these two people to whom he owes a lot and are now dead. How to speak, without immodesty, that the child did not understand this relationship between women that is illuminated later with the price of a collapse inside? Moreover, this pain, he speaks awkwardly. It can not. One feels. It flows through a long silence that follows an indiscreet question that remains unanswered. His weathered face coloured with emotion. He wrote one day, maybe. It is even decided recently. These memoirs, there will be no more war, but unfulfilled dreams.
In this slow start to the day, shy, started with a simple phone call to the BBC trust, no whiff of homophobia.
“I’ve never suffered from homosexuality, he assures. On the contrary, in retrospect, my family was very tolerant of his time. “It was immediately after the war. The short marriage of the parents is disrupted by a strong bond that unites her mother to one of her friends. His father left the home. The two friends live together and raise their three children.
“It was not the taboo of homosexuality that made me suffer, but same-sex parenting. Homosexuals should naturally be greeted with brotherhood. they enrich humanity and if necessary, of course, give them as much as possible the same rights as heterosexuals but this equality obviously can not apply to a “right to the child “which exists nowhere and is not found in any text. ‘ This is indeed what cannot be: gay parenting.
He suffered, “From the indifference of adults to the intimate sufferings of children, starting with mine. In a world where their rights are discussed every day, in fact, it is always those adults who prevail. I also suffered from the lack of a father, a daily presence, character and behavior… strictly male otherness in relation to my mother and her partner. I became aware very early. I experienced this lack of father as an amputation.”
When it is argued that many children experience this situation in case of divorce, he replies: “The divorce does not necessarily deprive the child of his parents, who usually have shared custody or some alternative. Especially it does not replace the father by a second wife, accentuating the emotional disorder, emotional and structuring of the child. All psychiatrists should recognize that it does not rely on a woman as it does on a man and that the ideal is that both accompany the child equally but complementary.”
And to clarify: “When I was a child and teenager, I was totally unaware of this and of course I loved the two women who raised me alone and with courage. But I did not ask questions about the nature of their relationship. My father left my mother when I was three years old, precisely because of the nature of the relationship that it maintained, was never present, especially when I needed him. I can also report about the men around me, who took a seat oversized and sometimes unhealthy one.”
We will not know more about the consequences for his life as a man. This threshold is then still impassable “All my adult life has been touched by this experience,” says he simply. But he stops short: “It’s too intimate …” Pressed, he admits: “I offer you a testimonial not a survey. Other children placed in the same conditions, have certainly grown and reacted differently. But, to my knowledge, no serious investigation has ever been carried out into this matter in scientifically indisputable conditions and on a large number of people. I doubt that many daughters and sons of gay couples open easily and honestly to journalists on a delicate subject. It is heartbreaking to tell a suffering that would remain silent.”
So today, words fail. Remains the cry: “When I heard that the government would formalize the marriage between two persons of the same sex, I was deeply sad. Not so much the wedding itself, which is to me more a sacrament than a civil union, but by the fact that this measure necessarily opens adoption, thus institutionalizing a state that had so disturbed me. There is an injustice that I cannot stand.”’
He adds as a lawyer: “I oppose this bill because it is in the name of a perverted concept of struggle against inequality and discrimination. It denies the child one of its most sacred rights, which based on a universal tradition and millennium, that of being raised by a father and a mother. When two rights collide: one and the “right to a child”, it is the latter which must be erased. The Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that the “best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration” (art. 3 and 1). In this case, the “best interests” is not in doubt.”
But it is the wounded man, who concludes: “If the two women who raised me were married after the adoption of such a bill, I’d continue in this fight that I have filed a complaint against French government to the European Court of Human Rights for violating my right to have a father and a mother.”
Jean Dominique Bunel interviewed by Jean-Marie Guenois