Jim WallaceBelow is a copy of an opinion piece written by ACL's Managing Director Jim Wallace, first published in the Illawarra Mercury, entitled Marriage is mother + father = kids.

If some in popular culture are to be believed, redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is straight forward and has no adverse consequences.

This idea has gone unchallenged in part because of a fundamental shift in society from the community to the individual. Where once change was judged on its impact on the common good, now extreme individualism seeks its good first.

This mindset was on display in last week’s ABC 7.30 piece on polyamorous relationships. Polyamory is an open relationship involving more than one couple. Most revealing in the story were the final words of one of the polyamorists: “it’s all about people being happy and comfortable in whatever relationship they want to be in”.

Actually in Western society that has never been what marriage relationships have been “all about”.

They have primarily been about providing children the natural and stable relationship in which they flourish best, a commitment between their biological mother and father in marriage.

For that reason marriage has been viewed as not just about “us” but the children we bring into this world.

It is the relationship defined by the biological and sexual complimentarily of men and women. Marriage protects the biological identity of children. It provides the best environment for them to flourish.

Marriage should be reinforced by governments with much more vigour than wanting to enforce protection of the natural environment for trees.

As important as they are, trees are not in the same league as children.

It is interesting that those agitating to redefine marriage scoff at suggestions it will lead to polyamory. Yet the 7:30 story is evidence the former has led to unquestioning discussion of the later, something once unthinkable.

Last year the Australian Parliament voted overwhelmingly against Illawarra MP Stephen Jones’ same-sex marriage bill. The bill was defeated by a margin of two to one.

The vote came after a long and at times ugly debate within the Labor Party that saw it abandon its long-held position on marriage.

This was despite the fact that Labor went to the polls with a very clear promise they would not redefine marriage.

Government must legislate for what is best for children. We can be presented with any number of heart-rending examples of same-sex couple’s love, but they do not change the simple biological truth that it is different and not marriage.

Marriage will figure prominently in most Christians’ considerations at election time.

In a question distributed to a random representative sample in the National Church Life Survey in 2011, 49 per cent of respondents rated marriage and family in the top four issues of 13 options on the survey.

Marriage, the regional solution for asylum seekers, filtering dangerous and illegal content from the internet, supporting mums through the baby bonus, maintaining the unique character of the school chaplaincy program, problem gambling and meeting our international obligations on overseas aid were all commitments made to Christians at the last election.

Both sides of politics have disappointed at different times over the last three years on these issues, but only the Coalition has maintained its promise on marriage.

As people make up their minds who to support over the coming months there will certainly be no shortage of issues to consider, but for most Christians marriage will be one of them.

If a week is a long time in politics then Election Day is still an eternity away. Our politicians would do well to spend that time articulating a positive, credible vision for our nation that includes preserving and strengthening marriage as the very foundational block on which society is built.

Jim Wallace is Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby group.