The Australian Christian Lobby's submission to the same-sex marriage senate inquiry has now been published online. Click here
That submission's executive summary has been published below.The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Senate on the Marriage Equality Bill 2010.ACL represents a significant constituency in the Australian community. Its supporters are mainly Christians who come from a wide range of Christian denominations across the Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical, and Pentecostal traditions.ACL supports the definition of marriage as it is currently defined in the Marriage Act 1961:
“marriage” means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
This definition is not new, though it was inserted into the Marriage Act in 2004. It enshrines in legislation the common law definition that has existed since at least 1866, when Lord Penzance said in Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee:
Marriage as understood in Christendom is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.
This did not create a new definition of marriage, but codified its historic meaning, one that has been held in the Christian tradition for millennia.This definition is not exclusively a Christian one, or indeed a religious one. Marriage as a heterosexual union has retained its meaning throughout history, transcending time, religions, cultures, and people groups. Even in those societies which accepted or even encouragedhomosexuality, marriage has always been a uniquely male-female institution.This submission will argue for the long-held understanding of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It will argue that man-woman marriage, as the foundation of society’s most fundamental unit – family – is itself a social good, providing the best environment for family to flourish, and in particular, for children to be raised and nurtured. It must be preserved and encouraged for the common good.The second part of this submission addresses some of the consequences that will flow from redefining marriage. In particular, it addresses concerns about consequences to children, to religious freedom, to education, and to the institution of marriage itself.The third part addresses some common claims made in favour of same-sex marriage and demonstrates that many of these claims are unfounded, and many are simply untrue. Accusations of homophobia and discrimination are unfounded, and the argument that marriage is a human right which same-sex couples are denied has been dismissed by the highest international courts as well as many of the highest national courts. Claims that same-sex marriage is a pressing issue for homosexuals, and indeed for the general population, are also rebutted.