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...marriage is being fought for thanks to partners like you.[/caption]
After the 2010 federal election, the future of marriage in Australia was anything but certain. A divided nation had voted and delivered a hung parliament. The Greens now held or shared the balance of power in both houses of parliament and Australia’s first openly atheist Prime Minister’s resolve on the issue was yet to be tested. For the small group of dedicated activists seeking to redefine marriage in Australia, it looked as if their moment had finally come.
For a decade, their efforts had been frustrated by both sides of politics. In 2004 the federal parliament, after lobbying by ACL and others, passed a bill that explicitly defined marriage as a heterosexual union. The change was supported by both the then Coalition Government and Labor Opposition. As a result, the Commonwealth Marriage Act defined marriage as “the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.
Since then, eleven same-sex marriage bills have been debated in Australia’s federal, state and territory legislatures. In 2011, the Australian Labor Party platform was changed, officially supporting same-sex marriage – though, at Julia Gillard’s insistence, ALP members were granted a conscience vote. After years of debate, and despite a slick, well-resourced campaign supporting change, the Australian Parliament voted two-to-one in favour of preserving the traditional definition of marriage.
Shortly after the 2013 election, the Australian Capital Territory decided to go it alone and redefine marriage within its own boundaries. The laws were eventually struck down by the High Court as being unconstitutional.
The campaign to preserve traditional marriage has seen tens of thousands of emails sent to politicians and more than 120,000 people signing petitions in support of marriage. All around the country, people have been arranging meetings with their MP, many of them for the first time, to make a stand for marriage.
Marriage remains worth fighting for. It provides a natural, timeless and sustainable foundation for our society. Committed, loving marriages provide the best place to raise society’s next generation. Strong marriages build strong communities. And strong communities make a strong society. Redefining marriage would redefine family.
And marriage is being fought for thanks to partners like you. Your gifts, prayers and advocacy have brought Christian values to the forefront of public and political debate time and again, and you have helped highlight to our nation the wisdom of upholding the traditional definition of marriage.
However, if the traditional definition of marriage is to be preserved in the coming years, it will only happen with the continued support of people like you. We must always remember what is at stake in this debate and draw courage and inspiration from our previous successes … and we must be deliberate with how we move forward.
So please continue to pray, meet your MPs, be aware of public and political discussion about marriage, and support the cause of upholding marriage in Australia together with ACL. On this issue, our united front is absolutely vital.