The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has been quoted in a news story today about same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, says Jensen
ALLOWING same-sex couples to marry could lead to the acceptance of polygamy and incest, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has warned.
Writing in the church's newspaper, Southern Cross, Dr Jensen said the push for same-sex unions to be enshrined in the Marriage Act was not a drive for the extension of rights but the redefinition of ''one of the indispensable foundations of community''.
''Ensuring public honour of same-sex relationships by calling them marriages is an abuse of marriage itself,'' he said.
''It imposes, through social engineering, a newly minted concept of marriage on a community that understands it in quite another way.''
Dr Jensen said the present law did not deny the rights of those in same-sex unions. ''This is not unjust - it is not even discrimination in the current sense of the word - but a refusal to call different things by the same name,'' he said.
Some of the unwelcome consequences of same-sex marriage would be the undermining of the family unit and a demand for equal treatment in sex education, where ''the normalisation of homosexuality'' would be assumed.
''This claim for a right to be married could open the way for other forms, such as polygamous marriages or perhaps even marriage between immediate family members,'' he said.
Dr Jensen, who has been holding a series of lectures entitled ''In Praise of Marriage'', defined the institution as a public commitment by two people of the opposite sex for life, exclusive of all others.
The clergyman said he had supported legislation that extended the economic rights of married people to same-sex couples, but said religious leaders needed to defend marriage or risk losing the right to do so.
''Ministers of the Gospel will find it increasingly difficult to teach Christian sexual ethics… since what they say will be contrary to what the state says,'' he said.
Federal MPs were asked in November to canvass views in their electorates on same-sex marriage, and it will be debated at the ALP national conference this year.
A Galaxy poll this week found three in four Australians believed it was inevitable that same-sex couples would be allowed to marry.
But Dr Jensen said same-sex marriage was far from inevitable, citing a conversation with a homosexual activist who told him that even if Christian leaders were silent, ''society at large would still not normalise homosexual behaviour''.
''I think he was right. Deep down, society will not honour same-sex relationships like real marriage,'' Dr Jensen said.
Alex Greenwich, of the lobby group Australian Marriage Equality, one of the organisations that commissioned the poll, said it suggested society was increasingly ready to welcome gays and lesbians and accept their right to be treated equally by the law.
''The archbishop would acknowledge we live in a multi-faith society, and as such he must respect that his views should not be imposed on those religions that want to perform same-sex marriages, such as the Quakers and progressive synagogues, or the civil celebrants who perform 67 per cent of all marriages,'' he said.
Mr Greenwich said Dr Jensen's ''alarmist predictions'' had not come to pass in countries that had allowed same-sex marriage.