More than 50 church leaders have directly appealed to all 226 federal MPs not to change the Marriage Act, kicking off a campaign to defeat moves by Labor and the Greens to allow same-sex marriage.
In defence of marriage being only between a man and a woman, the leaders cite the "high incidence of fatherless youth" in the London riots as an example of the social dangers if governments do not create "a natural and stable environment" for children.
"You will see that despite the incredible claims of a lack of support for the current definition of marriage in the churches . . . we know the support for the current definition of marriage is strongly held by the vast majority of other faiths," the church leaders say. They refer to the importance of marriage as a legal institution to promote and protect "the identity of children and their internationally recognised right to know, have access to and be nurtured by both their mother and father".
The campaign is partly a response to surveys released by same-sex marriage advocates that suggest 53 per cent of Christians support same-sex marriage, as the Greens campaign to change the Marriage Act and the ALP national conference prepares to debate the issue in November.
The leaders include the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell, Lutheran Church president Mike Semmler, Orthodox Archbishop of Australia Paul Sliba, Salvation Army commissioner Raymond Finger and Presbyterian moderator-general David Jones.
Up for debate in the House of Representatives [last week] is a motion from Greens MP Adam Bandt that MPs report to parliament on their consultations with their constituents to gauge support for same-sex marriage.
Last night [23/08/2011], 22 MPs were listed to speak on the issue, including Labor backbench campaigner against same-sex marriage John Murphy, who told parliament last week the majority of people in his western Sydney electorate of Reid were against it.
Queensland Liberal-Nationals senator Ron Boswell will release a petition with more than 50,000 signatures supporting traditional marriage.
Some Labor MPs are angry the Greens are forcing an agenda to change the Marriage Act, and that the ALP national conference is being drawn into a controversy damaging to Julia Gillard, who supports traditional marriage.
Before the last election, the Prime Minister promised the government would not change the law to allow same-sex marriage because she appreciated "our heritage as a Christian country" and believed "the Marriage Act has a special status in our culture".
Last night [23/08/2011], celebrity doctor and former Australian Medical Association president Kerryn Phelps and her partner, Jackie Stricker-Phelps, met Ms Gillard to put their case for same-sex marriage.
The couple, who have been together for 14 years and have adopted a 12-year-old, say politicians opposing gay marriage are ignoring the 60 per cent of voters and 53 per cent of Christians who support marriage equality.
"We pay our taxes, we've been allowed to adopt a child a heterosexual couple couldn't look after, but we're not allowed to get married," Ms Stricker-Phelps said.
Source: The Australian