Probably the most contentious issue of the past several years has been whether marriage should be redefined to include same-sex couples. From the election of the Gillard Labor Government various private member bills were introduced into the Senate and House of Representatives. Based on the endorsement of same-sex marriage by the media 9in large part), academics, celebrities, opinion polls and other pundits it is amazing that at the start of 2013 there has been no success for the proponents of same-sex marriage. That this is the case is due to the fierce opposition of religious groups. The same-sex proponents made a strategic error when Adam Bandt, the member for Melbourne, a Green and a homosexual had a motion passed in the House of Representatives at the end of 2010 calling on members of Parliament to take soundings in their respective constituencies on the question of whether the law of marriage should be amended to include same-sex couples. When the show and tell moment came the politicians conducting the soundings overwhelmingly reported that a majority of their constituents voicing an opinion where in favour of the law remaining as it is, i.e. between a man and a woman. In other words Christians, for it is believed it was largely Christians, outnumbered supporters of same-sex marriage in making the effort to communicate their views to their local member.

Behind all of this was a tremendous amount of work done in informing Christians on the issue, giving them cogent arguments for leaving the definition of marriage as it is.

A denominationally mixed group of ethicists plus Jim Wallace and myself under the banner, Committee for the Preservation of Marriage  produced a document, Revising  Marriage? in 17 page, 4 page, and 1 page format with the endorsement of a very broad cross section of the church. Copies of the 1 page document being given to every Federal politician. The longer version contained both natural law and biblical arguments for marriage as between a man and a woman and rebutted the main arguments for same-sex marriage.

The covering letter to the “Priests, Ministers and Pastors of the Christian Church in Australia” with the denominational endorsements may be viewed here. This document gives the link to the 17 page and 4 page version of Revising Marriage ?. The 1 page version for politicians is found here.

On the day that our letter to politicians was placed in their letter boxes, the day for the “show and tell” moment in Parliament, the Committee put out a media release and as spokesperson I did a number of interviews including a spot on ABC Breakfast News. This is the video clip of that interview (my name is simply David Palmer!).

Articles regarding Same-Sex Marriage

Civil list

Civil list was written at a comparatively early stage and was an attempt to steer the drive for same-sex marriage or civil unions in the direction of “a relationship register”. The article explains the thinking. It however proved contentious both inside the Presbyterian Church and with certain more hard line advocacy groups who accused me of approving same-sex relationships. This was nonsense but was hurtful. My argument was that a relationship register was a far cry from marriage but did give recognition that there can be long standing and caring relationships between two homosexual persons. The article was published in Australian Presbyterian, April 2007 and may be found here (scroll down to p26).

Untying the knot

Untying the knot was an article reflecting on the attack through divorce, feminism, etc that the institution of marriage has been under, especially since the 1960’s. The article was published in Australian Presbyterian, October 2009 and may be found here (scroll down to p10).

Stand fast

Stand fast was a call to arms to fellow Presbyterians to defend marriage “as between a man and a woman voluntarily entered into for life”. The article was published in Australian Presbyterian, June 2011 and may be found here (scroll down to p12).

Man and woman

Man and woman discussed both the organisation of and the results of the campaign to preserve marriage as a heterosexual union to that point in time. The article was published in Australian Presbyterian, September 2011 and may be found here (scroll down to p30).

Union of sameness versus union of difference

Union of sameness versus union of difference was written just prior to votes being taken in Parliament which would see same-sex marriage move off the political agenda for some time to come. The article built on the work undertaken in Revising Marriage? and concluded with a degree of prescience, “(s)ame-sex marriage in law is by no means inevitable”. The article was published in Online Opinion, 8th February 2012 and may be found here. This article is to be published in a school text that presents a variety of views on same-sex marriage.

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