For immediate release – 29 May 2015
The NSW Council of Churches has restated its view that the Australian Parliament should define marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
“Christians are guided by the teaching of the Bible, which never condones the marriage of persons of the same sex or other alternatives to the traditional norm, which is the union between a man and a woman,” Council President, the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford, said.
“For practical purposes, marriage has been understood as a man-woman union since the dawn of time, and Australian law reflects that consensus,” Dr Clifford said.
“Changing the meaning of marriage would be a vast, risky social experiment. Children have the right to know and be cared for by their natural parents. The law should reflect and promote best practice. Amid the emotion and hype, principled arguments in favour of retaining the current definition of marriage in Australian law deserve the consideration of every federal politician,” Dr Clifford said.
In response to the announcement that federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten would introduce a same sex marriage bill to Parliament on Monday, Dr Clifford called on church leaders and church members to contact their local federal members and senators to clarify whether they now supported federal same sex marriage laws, and how they would vote if allowed a conscience vote.
“There may also be unknown and unintended negative consequences if same sex marriage legislation is enacted in Australia. For example, some ministers of religion may not be permitted or prepared to continue to celebrate any marriage under such an Act,” Dr Clifford said.
“The Australian electorate is growing tired of this seemingly endless debate. There are many more important issues to focus the minds and hearts of legislators, church leaders and voters. We have had more than ten costly, time-consuming attempts to change state or federal law with respect to marriage in Australia. All of them have failed. It is time to move on,” he said.
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