Whether we want it to be the case or not, the current public debate over the need to redefine ‘marriage’ in Australian Law has been unavoidable.
In no way can the complexity of this issue be properly addressed in a short letter or the thoughts and feelings of the many individuals personally affected by this debate be expressed or heard.
However, given the current debate and the overwhelming flood of support for the “Yes” vote in the wider media, the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches of Walcha would like to present some points in support of voting “No” to redefining marriage.
Firstly, even though we don’t experience or see marriage working as it was intended, that doesn’t mean that we should give up on its original design. Marriage being between a man and a woman is the historically and culturally respected norm. It is the natural place for the bearing and raising of children by their mother and a father, different yet complementary in their roles.
Secondly, “Equality” has been shrewdly claimed by those in favour of change, and we agree equality is important. Same sex-couples should not be excluded from the rights of hetero-sexual couples as to the validity of their relationship before the law. We are not interested in the exclusion of people from participation in community. Yet marriage does not need to be redefined for this to be the case, other legislation can be put in place to achieve this result and has largely been done so.
Thirdly, at stake in this whole debate are also the consequences of change. Voting to change the definition of marriage will expose the lack of protection for religious freedom and freedom of speech within Australian Law. In his article in The Australian newspaper “Why the Yes case is shoddy” 13/09/17, Paul Kelly notes, “While some aspects of the No case are obnoxious, its warnings about religious freedoms risks are entirely valid.” Interestingly he also notes that the agenda behind same sex marriage “… is an ideological cause seeking fundamental changes in Western society, laws and norms. It will continue apace after the law is changed.” We should not miss that this vote has implication for gender and sexuality is perceived and taught into the future.
Lastly,at the heart of our call to resist change to our Law and the move away from our accepted norms of gender and sexuality is the concept of God’s rule over creation and the good order that He has given to us. Society and individuals will not find fulfilment in simply acting as we see fit, we need boundaries.
Our opposition to the changes that are being proposed and the underlying agenda of the movement for change is not born out of hatred for people or a desire to exclude people from community. To disagree is not to hate. We are concerned to uphold what we believe is truly good for our community and our world because it is the order that our creator God has given to us.