Melbourne, May 16: The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference today released a statement saying that “political decisions can end up undermining marriage and providing less and less support for families despite a rhetoric that claims otherwise”.

The ACBC states that marriage and family should be central to a healthy social environment, but feared that “economic decisions have been less and less favourable to families in recent years; and it may be that political decisions in the future will undermine further the dignity and uniqueness of marriage as a lifelong union of man and woman.”

This intervention and warning to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten by the bishops has stemmed from the ongoing debate on ‘marriage equality’ – being equal legal and social rights for all adults in whatever form of relationship; to an unwarranted sidestepping of changing the definition of marriage itself.

Any promotion of ‘a traditional family’ can be viewed as non-conformer and hence prejudice. What is being termed as ‘equality’ by the likes of Alan Joyce with demands that Australian companies promote same-sex marriage – is most certainly intolerance for those that believe in a man-woman marriage.

Too bad, if we are one of them – we may have to stagger in the fringes of the modern corporate world with a tag of a homophobe.

Does not, then this form of political correctness, promote the highest degree of fanaticism against those that think and believe differently?

What should have been a debate for legal and social equality regardless of sexual orientation; is rather a debate for definition. It is prejudice if we use terms as – husband, wife, mother or father. Partner and parent is the norm to the extent that the family establishment may be effectively derailed.

As the ACBC statement read, Support for marriage and the family does not look a big vote-winner, so that even the most basic human institution, upon which the health of a society depends, can become part of the throwaway culture or at best an optional extra.”

Marriage, as we understand it, is not merely the expression of love that two people have for each other.

It is a word for the definition of a life-long union between two people who are genetically able to carry forward the human race within the natural biological realms.

With or without children; with or without the same partner; that biological structure is the essence of marriage.

ACBC’s “throwaway culture” highlights the danger that the economy can become a kind of “false god to which even human beings have to be sacrificed”.

While Labor has promised to legalise same-sex marriage within 100 days of being elected, the Coalition has promised a $160 million plebiscite for the majority voice. Yet that plebiscite must be watered down with a more than $525 million cost-report by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ and censorship of opposing views on many social media platforms.

Termed as ‘dangerous and divisive’ – it purports to do “great harm to LGBTIQ Australians and their families”, according to Dr Liz Short, researcher and lecturer at Victoria University, and Dr Sharon Dane, Honorary Fellow at the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland.

According to them, LGBTIQ Australians and their families would suffer foreseeable damage due to “a period of debate involving a government-funded ‘no’ campaign” when same-sex couples and their families could be treated inequitably – yet it is of no consequence if their argument culminates into a scenario where equality and diversity for hetero-sexual couples stand no chance.

  • Weren’t we supposed to be a Democracy where debate and majority voice is always the way forward?
  • Why is there a practice of fear-mongering and need to stifle public debate lest an unknown harm be caused to one particular section?
  • Where is the robust Australian society which prides in an equalitarian debate?
  • Are we descending into a Dictatorial mode of governance where laws could be enforced without a debate?

It is sad that a necessary debate in modern Australia for equal legal and social rights for all adult couples has culminated into Us vs Them debate; those in favour of same-sex marriage and the bigots.

The pro-redefinition lobby will not have it any other way.

Meanwhile, the silent majority of the society may have been brought to light by the ACBC statement that there are “others in our community, near and far, whose voices are unheard, whose faces are unseen. They are seen as politically irrelevant. They will not decide any marginal seats or determine the result of the election.

“Yet any society is ultimately judged not on how well it manages the economy but on how well it treats the thrown-away people.”

Rev Dr Michael Jensen questions the language of those advocating changes to the marriage law.

“Could it be that if you haven’t heard the case opposing a change to the marriage law, it is because the language of those advocating it has been so emotive that the contrary case can’t be heard above the noise?

“Could it really be said that a civil disagreement has taken place? I am not confident that it has”, wrote Rev Dr Michael Jensen, rector, St Mark’s Anglican Church in The Age.

He makes the case for traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman with the qualification of ‘equality’ and the opposite: ‘discrimination’ wherein he draws on the duty of the law to “judiciously discriminate and to appropriately recognise difference with, at times, unequal treatment of things that are not the same.

“It isn’t automatically wrong to discriminate per se.

“To offer the status of marriage to couples of the same sex, the very meaning of marriage has to be changed. In which case, what same-sex couples will have will not be the same as what differently sexed couples now have”.

If at all, traditional marriage laws in any country have always discriminated – brothers cannot marry sisters; adults cannot marry the under-age and so on…

In this, Rev Dr Jensen does not expect to convince everyone, only hopes to take out the ‘bigoted’ contention for holding a different view-point.

Nidhi Mehta

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