Australian Senate considers marriage equality bill
On April 2, 2012, the Australian Senate closes invitations from the public on their opinion regarding the legalisation of same-sex ‘marriage’. This is not the first time the Senate has been requested to do so; the last time was back in 2009. Yet the political climate in Australia is markedly different now. In 2009, the Labor Government had as it’s official party policy to support marriage as man-woman only; likewise the Opposition Government. The Bill put forward to redefine marriage to “any two persons”, the Marriage Equality Amendment Act 2009, by the Greens (a progressive left party) was resoundly dismissed. Yet this time round, we have a Labor Government who altered their party platform late last year to support same-sex ‘marriage’ and we have three bills being reviewed by the Senate to amend the Marriage Act 1961. One of the those bills is again from the Greens: the Marriage Equality Amendment Act 2010. It’s the latter bill that presents the most radical of change to the current definition of marriage in Australia. And its to that bill that I’ve composed the following submission:
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Re: Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010
I write to the Senate Inquiry Committee to voice my opposition to the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 and to lend my support of traditional man-woman marriage. I note my reasons in the following paragraphs, providing supporting references where appropriate.
Full equality already exists under current law
Marriage, for all Australian constituents, is an institution in which there already exists a full equality under the law; there is none to whom the Marriage Act 1961 unjustly discriminates. In order for anyone to marry, all must pass the prescribed criteria: 1. Be of marriageable age; 2. Be not already married; 3. Must not marry a close blood relative, and; 4. Must marry a member of the opposite sex. All Australians, irrespective of their sexual identity, are expected to meet these criterions; there is no inequality of law in their application to either the homosexual or the heterosexual. Both the homosexual and the heterosexual have the same restrictions.
While this response may be unsatisfactory to many homosexuals, it must be noted that the existing criterion for marriage in Australia does not require desire or love between the two being married. Although love and desire are important to the marital union, it is not required by law, but assumed. Government does not regard desire as key to the marital union because such unions encompass not only love but also provide a unique social good1.
Why prohibiting same-sex marriage is not equivalent to anti-miscegenation
Advocates of same-sex marriage mistakenly compare its prohibition to that of anti-miscegenation laws. While anti-miscegenation was unjust discrimination (as ethnicity has nothing to do with marriage), man-woman only marriage is not unjust – this is because anti-miscegenation was about whom to allow to marry, not what marriage is essentially about. The gender difference between a man and woman has everything to do with marriage.
In actuality, promoting same-sex marriage has more in common with anti-miscegenation than it does against anti-miscegenation because it also seeks to arbitrarily include a non-essential criterion to the institution of marriage: that the complementarity of the sexes is unimportant.
The public purpose of marriage
Man-woman marriage is an important social good. As a group, as a rule, and by nature, marriages produce children. The public purpose of marriage, therefore, associates the children produced from it to their father and likewise associates the father to their mother. This cohesiveness serves to foster the best environment within which to raise children2, over and above all other forms of family combinations, and is in this real sense, a unique arrangement to be promoted.
By contrast, same-sex unions, as a group, as a rule, and by nature, cannot produce children without the involvement of a third party. Homosexual unions are socially infertile; while some homosexual partnerships do involve children from previous relationships or conceived through IVF, these arrangements are intentionally designed to deny children the nurture of one or both of their biological parents. While two homosexuals can be loving parents, it defies common sense that a homosexual man can be a good “mother” to a child, and likewise that a homosexual woman can be a good “father” to a child. Author and lawyer Dawn Stefanowicz, writing of her experience growing up with a gay father, remarked: “What makes it so hard for a girl to grow up with a gay father is that she never gets to see him loving, honoring and protecting the women in his life3.”
Thus, marriage is much more than simply the expression of love and commitment between any two adults; it is the love and commitment to each other as well as to any children produced by the sexual expression of that love and commitment. That marriage between a child’s biological parents is the ideal circumstance is a great public good, and it is a good that a homosexual union cannot create or produce. Where the welfare of children is concerned, the Government cannot unjustly discriminate and ought always promote man-woman marriage over and above all other relationships for the benefit of children and for the benefit of wider society as a whole.
Legalising same-sex marriage threatens religious liberty and free speech
Where same-sex marriage is legalised (and even in some instances where it is not yet legal), ordinary citizens, business owners, religious believers and not-for-profit organisations will have their religious liberties and values and freedom of speech curtailed:
- In Jan 2011, hotel owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull from Cornwall, UK, were ordered to pay $6000 in damages to a homosexual couple who sued them for declining to offer a room as it violated their hotel policy to only make board available to married couples4
- In Illinois, Washington DC and Massachusetts, US, Catholic bishops voluntarily closed the Church’s adoption and foster-care organisations rather than comply with new non- discrimination laws following the legalising of same-sex marriage in those states which would have forced them to place children with same-sex couples5
- Massachusetts, US, 2005, father David Parker was arrested after talking with his son’s school about opting his son out of mandatory pro-homosexuality teaching6. (Charges were later dropped.)
- New Mexico, US, 2008, a Christian photographer was sued by a lesbian couple after
refusing to shoot a gay wedding7
- Canada, 2008, evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson was fined $5000 and banned from
expressing his biblical understanding of homosexuality8
- UK, Church of England lawyers state that legalising same-sex marriage in England will
effectively force churches to comply9
- UK, housing manager Adrian Smith was demoted10 after posting a criticism of the UK’s
new gay rights law on his personal Facebook page, on his own time
- Derbyshire, UK, Christians Mr and Mrs Johns denied the right to be foster parents11 after
refusing to teach children in their care that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle
Man-Woman Marriage Conclusion
Marriage ought to remain as the union between one man and one woman for life. It is this union that all cultures throughout the history of the world have recognised as the fundamental building block of their society, and it is a union that the Government of Australia has recognised and protected – and later described – as critical to the continued longevity and prosperity of its own society.
Aside from its societal importance, man-woman only marriage ought to be upheld as the norm; legalising same-sex marriage unduly threatens people’s freedoms of religion and speech – both of which are truly invaluable to any nation seeking to be equitable and prosperous.
If you haven’t yet done so, there is still a wee bit of time left for you to email your own submission through to the Australian Senate Inquiry Committee. Your submission can be very basic; even one paragraph stating your support for man-woman only marriage is more than sufficient. In politics, numbers matter.
Email the Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) your submission, attached as a Word or PDF document. You must do this by no later than 4.30pm Monday April 2, 2012. Further detail on making submissions, including what items to note, can be found on the Australian Christian Lobby site.
- Sherif Girgis, Robert P George, Ryan T Anderson, “What is Marriage?”, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 2010, p26
- Maggie Gallagher, “What is Marriage For?“, The Public Purpose of Marriage Law, section III A; cf. Georgina Binstock and Arland Thornton, “Separations, Reconciliations, and Living Apart in Cohabiting and Marital Unions”, Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 65 No. 2, 2003
- Dawn Stefanowicz, Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting, Annotation Press, 2007, p. 230
- “UK Hotel Owners’ Religious Appeal Deemed ‘Discriminatory’ Against Gay Couple“, The Christian Post, February 10, 2012
- “Bishops close adoption services over new rule on gay parents“, The Irish Times, December 30, 2011
- “Charges dropped against jailed dad“, World Net Daily, October 20, 2005
- “Christian Photographer Hauled before Commission for Refusing Same-Sex Job“, Life Site News, January 30, 2008
- “Government to Pastor: Renounce Your Faith!“, World Net Daily, June 09, 2008
- “Law on same-sex marriages mean churches ‘will be forced to conduct gay weddings’“, The Daily Mail, March 12, 2012
- “Demoted for not backing gay marriage: housing manager’s pay slashed for criticising new law on Facebook“, The Daily Mail, October 23, 2011
- “Christian foster couple lose ‘homosexuality views’ case“, BBC News, February 28, 2011