Marriage Alliance Media Conference

Marriage Alliance Media Conference

Ounnamed (1) unnamed (3) unnamed (4) unnamed (5) unnamed (6)n behalf of those Muslim and Christian communities whom we

represent, we declare that we believe that there should be no change

to the traditional definition of marriage as spelled by the 2004

Amendment incorporated into the Marriage Act 1961. The

amendment reads:

“Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of

all others voluntarily entered into for life.”

We are very concerned about the rush to introduce new legislation

allowing for Same-Sex Marriage (“SSM”), which is wrong both in

policy and in principle.

It is wrong in policy because far-reaching changes should not be

implemented in haste. Parliamentarians of Australia have a duty to

lead the debate over SSM rather than opportunistically seeking to

garner votes by jumping onto what seems to be an irresistible

bandwagon. They should be encouraging people to reflect upon what

marriage is all about, its parameters, its relationship to child-rearing

and how children shall be raised outside of the institution of

traditional marriage. Studies of the children raised in same-sex unions

have produced conflicting results. It would be wrong and inacceptable

to allow children, those who are the most vulnerable, to be born into

situations where it may transpire that the situation they are born into

is too often unsuited for a balanced and healthy development.

The rush to amend the current Marriage Act is also wrong in principle

because even the weakening of marriage has had disastrous

consequences in the society we live in. One does not need to be

religious or to refer to the natural order to appreciate this, although for

us, as Christian and Muslim community leaders, these concerns are

significant and should be respected. The so-called “promiscuous

society” has resulted in a generation where commitment and loyalty

are disappearing, and in their place selfishness is flourishing.

On the other hand, we are not calling upon Parliamentarians to adopt

religious principles simply to gain points in the polls. But they should

consult with their constituents and respect their views as they hold

these principles, and recognise that they have proved their value in

social and human, not to say spiritual, terms.

We see no reason to believe the breezy assertion that we who do not

agree with altering the traditional nature of marriage will be

unaffected by it, and that the laws of Australia will respect our

principled stand.

Any amendment to the Marriage Act can be expected to unleash

further changes in the nature of State-sanctioned marriage. We are all

members of the one society. What affects one, affects the other, not

least in that the law has a formative effect upon expectations and

values. While people attracted to the same sex currently enjoy

relationship equality, where they live in committed relationships and

are cherished as people with dignity, we do not see why this has to be

“marriage”.

On what basis will our faiths and their ministers be protected if we

refuse to celebrate religious same-sex marriages? If same-sex

marriage is implemented it will only be a matter of time before

someone sues us for refusing to marry them to their same-sex partner.

What begins as an attempt to allow freedom of choice for some

people may well end in denying freedom of worship to many

others.

We have already arranged for a meeting with the Prime Minister, and

have written to the Leader of the Opposition, seeking a similar

encounter.

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