The Hansard of last week's debate on a same-sex marriage bill in the South Australian parliament is now available to read online.
The private members' bill for state-based same-sex marriage, introduced by Member for Port Adelaide Dr Susan Close, was defeated in the House of Assembly on Thursday “on the voices”, no division having been called. Thirteen members spoke against the bill, whilst only five members spoke supporting it.
Member for Finniss, Mr Michael Pengilly, commented on the nature of the marriage debate, saying "I do not believe that there is a fair and equitable debate going on regarding this matter. We seem to be inundated with those who wish for same-sex marriage to be put into legislation and there seems to be an overwhelming campaign by the media to try to orchestrate that. At the end of the day, the media do not get a vote in this chamber, nor do they get a vote in the federal chamber, or any other state for that matter".
Mr Pengilly went on to say "I personally would never support two people of the same sex having a union that is called a marriage. I have no problem with the union, but I would not support it being called a marriage. I have very strong views on this. Of the three issues before this parliament today—that is, euthanasia, prostitution and this—this is the one I am most opposed to, absolutely, because I think the family is the base of our community. It has been the base of our lives, and I think this is a real challenge to that".
Mr Martin Hamilton Smith, Member for Waite, urged Christians to be more vocal on the issue: "I would appeal to churches of any faith or denomination to be more vocal on this issue. Silence is the enemy. Get out there and express your view as the advocates for the case are expressing their view. There are many people who may not have a religious conviction who would oppose this measure anyway, based on their fundamental core values and their sense of what is right and what is wrong, and what is good for the community going forward".
The importance of the church's participation in the democratic process was highlighted also in Liberal Member for Schubert Ivan Venning's speech. He told the parliament "the Lutheran Church has been my rock, my wisdom and my strength, and I am not going to budge. I have had much good advice and many good arguments put to me by the Lutheran pastors in my electorate and I would not go past that. I thank them all very much for their support and confidence in me to stand here and say, no, we would not support this".
The importance for children to be raised by both a mother and a father was an argument also put forth by opponents of the bill. The Hon Tom Kenyan, Member for Newland, said "We recognise that having children, raising children within this traditional relationship of men and women, has been good for society. It has helped build society. So often, the only thing people have to fall back on is their family. It is what has provided a nourishing environment for so many people to be raised in, so that they go out and do good for those around them".
This is the third time in recent months where legislation to change the definition of marriage has been rejected; a bill in the Senate failed to pass in June, and the Tasmanian parliament rejected a bill in September last year.
to read the full Hansard of the South Australian debate.