OPINION: Why I’ll be voting ‘No’ to same-sex marriage

The voluntary postal vote in a few weeks on the definition of marriage is a monumental decision for Australian society that could have very far reaching consequences. John Howard argued when he was Prime Minister, that society is only as strong as the nuclear family.

In the past Australia has benefited greatly from the biblical view of marriage, defined as the exclusive and life-long union of a man and a woman. Historically, the family unit has been the place where children are, ideally, raised by their own mother and father. A child’s identity is profoundly established and formed through the role model of a mother and a father. Recent sociological research has backed this, showing that children benefit significantly more by being raised by their own biological parents.

Proponents of change use the term ‘marriage equality.’ It is true that all people are equal in God’s sight regardless of their sexual identity, and therefore need to be treated with respect and care. However, retaining the definition of marriage is best for our society, and especially the nurture of children. The argument that the marriage act should be redefined overlooks the fact that same sex couples already enjoy all the rights and privileges of de-facto couples.

Long gone are the days when they were ostracised or discriminated against. It also needs to be said that there are other serious consequences in changing the definition of marriage, particularly in the area of freedom of speech. Despite the claims of some, that freedom of speech will be protected, we know from recent experiences in the United Kingdom and Canada that the ramifications of such a change are profound, not just in religious areas but for anyone expressing a contrary view. Ten years after same sex marriage was introduced in Canada the reality for most has been less than liberating, with human rights for individuals and parents, as well as religious and educational institutions all being negatively impacted in significant ways. Even before the law has been changed in our own country, the Tasmanian Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous and Presbyterian Pastor Campbell Markham, have both been brought before the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner for respectfully expressing the traditional and legal view on marriage.

The family is central to a society’s continued prosperity and growth. And central to the concept of family is the traditional definition of marriage.