NATIONAL AFFAIRS: by Patrick J. ByrneNews Weekly
Federal Coalition commits to defending marriage
, February 18, 2012
Federal Coalition members have decided to continue the Coalition’s support for the current definition of marriage between one man and one woman.
As parliament was resuming for 2012, a Coalition meeting rejected bogus calls for a so-called “conscience vote” on planned legislation to change the Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage.
Realising that they don’t have the numbers for changing the Marriage Act, the Greens have moved their 2010 bill for same-sex marriage to the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs, in order to buy more lobbying time.
Before the Coalition reaffirmed its support for marriage, thousands of emails were sent to Coalition parliamentarians calling on them to support the current definition of marriage.
Also, the national president of the Australian Family Association, David Perrin, circulated a briefing paper on marriage to all Coalition MPs and senators.
Mr Perrin pointed out that same-sex marriage was “no more a ‘conscience issue’ than voting on a proposal to allow the arbitrary and forcible removal of children from their biological parents by the state could be considered a ‘conscience issue’.”
Mr Perrin argued that heterosexual marriage is a fundamental human rights issue, as it creates “a legal union between a man and a woman, providing permanence in their relationship and establishing legal bonds between parents and their children, for the benefit of the parents, children and society.
“Marriage defines the right of heterosexual couples to marry, have children in a manner that protects the inalienable right of children to know and be raised by their biological mother and father, their brothers, sisters, grandparents and ancestors. The state has the duty to protect children’s rights.”
Mr Perrin said that two homosexual men can be fathers, but they cannot be a mother and a father. Two lesbian women can be mothers, but they cannot be a father and a mother. Children have the right to a mother and a father.
He said that redefining marriage to be more “inclusive” would be like redefining vegetarianism to include meat-eaters.
Heterosexual marriage doesn’t undermine the dignity of same-sex couples, as claimed by the Marriage Equality lobby. Rather, “heterosexual marriage naturally produces children in a way that protects children’s rights; other relationships don’t. Heterosexual marriage is not discrimination; it’s protecting children’s rights.”
Mr Perrin said that if the argument of federal Greens MP, Adam Bandt, is taken seriously — namely that “love has no boundaries … no limits” — then marriage would be redefined to include same-sex couples, polygamy (one man and many women) and polyamory (any group of men and women).
“[Consequently], if heterosexual marriage discriminates against same-sex couples, then same-sex marriage discriminates against polygamists and those in polyamorous relationships, or against people who are just in friendships, or against people in business relationships,” Mr Perrin said.
Some Coalition parliamentarians have indicated support for civil unions legislation. However, even the most strident supporters of same-sex marriage oppose civil unions, at best viewing them as a watered-down version of same-sex marriage.
The Queensland Labor government has passed civil unions legislation.
The Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) full state council has unanimously supported having the legislation repealed, if elected. However, currently, the position of LNP leader Campbell Newman is that he reserves the right to decide what to do about this and other legislation rushed through by Anna Bligh’s moribund Labor government.
Under the new Queensland law, the first civil unions ceremonies can take place on March 5, three weeks before the state election expected on March 24.
If the federal Coalition stands firm on marriage and opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, and if the LNP in Queensland repeals civil unions legislation, should they be elected next month, then both can claim to be the parties standing for marriage.
In contrast, last December’s Labor Party’s national conference voted to support same-sex marriage, but to allow its parliamentarians a so-called “conscience vote” on the issue.
Commenting at the time, The Australian newspaper’s Paul Kelly, (November 30, 2011) said the Labor Party “seems ignorant of the public unease beneath unconvincing polls showing strong support for change or even the full import of what same-sex marriage actually means.…
“In essence this campaign shifts Labor as a political party into a post-Christian identity. It is a fundamental break from Labor’s social origins and values.
“This is how many Australians will interpret a vote for gay marriage. The party’s repudiation of the cultural and religious foundations of marriage will be an epic event in its history.”
For the vast majority of Australians, same-sex marriage is a low priority.
Polling done for the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty late last year, found that among those who feel strongly about the issue, more are opposed (18 per cent) than in favour (14 per cent).
Patrick J. Byrne is vice-president of the National Civic Council.