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Same sex marriage for Norfolk Island?

#1021 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 11 Jan 2015

The self-governing territory of Norfolk Island, off the east coast of Australia, is preparing to pass laws allowing same sex couples to marry.

A bill drafted in the nine-member Norfolk Island parliament last year to legalise same-sex marriage, takes pains to avoid using definitions drawn from federal legislation, since that was a key reason why similar laws in the Australian Capital Territory were struck down last year by the High Court.

Ministers of five of the island’s churches recently wrote to local MPs, pointing out that while such laws may attract homosexual tourists, they could also discourage older tourists who comprise most of the island’s visitors.

And with the island deep in debt, a High Court challenge to same sex marriage legislation could well spell disaster.

The Christian ministers also reminded MPs of Norfolk Island’s religious heritage, brought by Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the Bounty mutineers whose conversion to Christianity saved their lives.

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

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