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Press Release: Defining Marriage National Webcast

Press releases

Should marriage remain between a man and a woman in today’s world?

Noted Australians will address this question at a webcast being streamed live at St Michael’s Cathedral, this coming Tuesday, 26 June, 7:30-8:45pm. The panel includes:
  • former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson AO,
  • family law expert, Professor Patrick Parkinson AM (Professor of Law, University of Sydney), and
  • Christopher Pearson, columnist for The Australian
The webcast is free; all members of the public are welcome.
The Christian panel of experts will also address related issues such as
  • Do Christian values and ideals for marriage still matter?
  • Can Christians continue to advocate for the biological meaning of marriage publicly?
  • What does research say about the value of children being raised if possible by their biological parents?

Other members of the panel will include Dr Patricia Weerakoon, sexologist and retired academic in the sexual health grad program at Sydney University, and Dr Allan and Helen Meyer,
founders of Careforce Lifekeys.

Karl Faase, of Gymea Baptist Church, is the moderator, and the Australian Christian Lobby is the sponsor.

Prof Parkinson is the author of a recent Australian policy paper, published in July 2011, entitled “For Kids’ Sake: Repairing the Social Environment for Australian Children and Young People” (PDF link). In it he notes (p14)…

In the last twenty years or so, the dominant policy direction has been to treat all families alike without reference to family structure. Yet the overwhelming evidence from research is that children do best in two-parent married families, and this is not just the result of selection effects.

Rev Sandy Grant, Senior Minister of St Michael’s Cathedral, said that people on all sides of the debate would be wise to understand the best arguments in favour of the traditional definition of marriage.  He continued,

As a Christian, it is clear that Jesus understands marriage to be a heterosexual union—between one man and one woman—for life. Of course, I do not expect non-Christians will automatically be persuaded by the biblical account. But it is at least wise to hesitate before dismissing the morality of the Judea-Christian worldview, which has often been a positive force for good in our world, and is a significant influence on Australian law and culture.

Rev Grant continued…

All of us should recall that the Government has already removed all practical discrimination, in regards to such matters of property, superannuation, inheritance and such matters, for people in same-sex unions.

Beyond that, the State normally has little business interfering in most personal relationship matters. The reason it legislates for marriage is that the family is a building block of society and to encourage high standards for the welfare of children.

So retaining the traditional definition of marriage is good for society, independent of religion. In fact, few really believe in an unqualified right to marry anyone at all. For example, we may not marry a minor, even if both parties agree. And polygamy is unlawful, because it undermines the ‘shape’ of  marriage. Likewise, a brother and sister may not marry, even when past the age of child-bearing.

Since marriage is not just a private act, we believe there are just reasons to discriminate in such cases, so as to defend the basic ‘shape’ of marriage.

This also remains the case for a same-sex relationship, which unlike a heterosexual union, can never inherently  produce a child. Here is a relevant difference.

And most people agree it is still preferable for a child to be raised by its mother and father, with the complementary strengths and natures they bring.

Of course, there are exceptions for various circumstances, like widowhood. And individual homosexual parents may prove to be good parents.

Nevertheless, our society should encourage the ideal that, wherever possible, a child ought to have a father and a mother. This is good reason to continue defining the ‘shape’ of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

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