Why Penny Wong is wrong to silence Christians in the marriage debate

Penny Wong made some rather unfortunate comments recently. According to Penny’s belief system, everyone is welcome to their opinion on marriage and “Safe” Schools - except Christians.

In her humble opinion, she and her ilk are welcome to “impose their beliefs on everyone else", but if your views are different to hers - keep quiet!

The Guardian Australia reports that Penny has stated: “Religious freedom means being free to worship and to follow your faith without suffering persecution or discrimination for your beliefs. It does not mean imposing your beliefs on everyone else.”

She assumes that religious belief (specifically “Christian belief” – although the Christian view of marriage is shared by every major religion) is the only reason to oppose genderless marriage. According to her belief, marriage should be redefined to allow the exclusion of one sex or the other.

She flings around buzzwords such as “equality” and “discrimination” like confetti. FACT CHECK: Every Australian is treated exactly the same by Australian marriage law. Anyone may marry, including Penny. This is not a matter of "equality". There are numerous alternatives to marriage for those who, like Penny, choose not to fit the criteria.

In fact, it is Penny’s proposed change to the Marriage Act that is discriminatory. Allowing two men to marry is to state that the role of a wife and mother is redundant, even worthless. That is discrimination at its worst.

Penny’s belief system has led her to claim that marriage exists to provide legal advantages to individuals. FACT CHECK: Marriage exists for the benefit of society. It provides children direct access to their natural parents, committed to each other and to their child for life, supported and resourced by society. Penny’s alternative renders that ideal a biological impossibility.

Penny claims that changing the law has to do with the separation of Church and state, stating: “The push against legalising marriage equality shows that applying religious beliefs to the laws of a secular society leads to ‘inequity’.”

FACT CHECK: Australian Marriage law is 100% secular, and treats everyone the same – regardless of their religion.

Penny Wong’s attempts to silence debate from anyone who doesn’t share her belief system should be of concern to all Australians. It strips Aussies of their democratic rights and freedom of speech. A very worrying sign from Penny.

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16 Responses

  1. What is marriage? Marriage is the mating of man with woman as they can naturally procreate new-life (natural human reproduction). Christians have a similar view to mating as God united together one man with one woman as “one flesh” and they were commanded by God to fill the earth with people. There has been no religious text nor civil law which has required my lifelong girlfriend and I to register our relationship in order to regulate our friendship because we can’t naturally mate or naturally procreate new-life, and the government has never been concerned about how committed we have been to our friendship nor how much we have loved or hated each other.

    My husband and I have never purchased our NSW Marriage Certificate because this isn’t our “one flesh” marriage nor does a certificate from the government protect our “one flesh marriage from the harm of scientific experimentation of human reproduction, adultery, fornication, sodomy, abortion, prostitution, rape, incest, bestiality, pedophilia or any other sexual relationship, domestic violence, corruption and even murder. Penny Wong believes marriage is a certificate from the state and this makes adultery irrelevant to the civil “registered marriage” practice because adultery can only exist if a “one flesh” marriage has existed. However, the majority of Australians believe it is immoral to cheat on their husband or wife by having an adulterous relationship with another person.

    Why does the government discriminate between man-woman married couple with children from man-woman married couples without children as they don’t receive the same or equal government marriage benefits? A man-woman married couple without children naturally or intentionally discriminates themselves from receiving the government marriage benefit which allows them to pass down inheritance to their children. The government can’t force any man-woman married couple without children to have children in order that they would receive the same or equal marriage benefits as a married man-woman couple with children. Why does the Marriage Act discriminate between man-woman married couples from same-sex partners? Same-sex partners naturally or intentionally discriminates themselves from the Marriage Act because they don’t have the same husband-wife relationship nor the same man-woman living arrangement which is foundational to procreating, nurturing and raising new-life (natural human reproduction). A civil “registered marriage” only exist because the state provides registration of a genuine bonafide marriage which allows the purchase of a legal state marriage certificate for a public wedding ceremony. The federal government needs to provide the criteria of a genuine bonafide marriage for same-sex partners which is the same and equal to a man-woman bonafide marriage in order to detect “sham marriages” from rorting government marriage benefits.

  2. Why is that when a person thinks he or she is a cat or a fish the society labels them crazy and is locked away to some place where the society caled it a place where they belong. But when a man thinks he’s a woman or a woman thinks she’s a man they demand the society for understanding. They want people to be penalised for not agreeing to their demands. They want to be understood but don’t want to understand mainstream society.

  3. If same sex people want to marry, they can, and obtain same legal rights under civil law.Life started with people who were opposite-sex attracted and therefore procreated other humans. We have an original die cast lets keep it that way. No substitutes thank you. Too many changes happening in this fast paced world, people can be whom they want to be if they are comfortable with themselves. The laws have kept up with the changes to give people equality. Marriage between a man and a woman will/can produce another life before science could intervene eg. IVF etc. let us preserve the law of nature as unique, workable template for life which cannot be broken or distorted to include other types.

    Trudy

  4. The only purpose of SSM is to denigrate marriage, denigrate and destroy the natural bond that exists in a natural marriage and family, and move us to a genderless society. Why?
    Heard of 1984? Heard of a One World Government? the New World Order?
    The best way to introduce the NWO is to destroy the family, as it forms the core of a community, a nation. Without families, we have nothing. End times are coming, the modern political battle is no longer between Left and Right, it is between Globalists and Patriots. And we all know which side our Australian Brainwashing Company (ABC) stands, don’t we?

  5. She didn’t say anything like this. She just said religion shouldn’t be imposed on other people. Telling that you’d have a problem with that.

    • AJ

      You’re right Nick. Penny shouldn’t be imposing her religion on other people.

      • AJ it is regrettable that yet again you turn this into a personal attack on Penny Wong.
        If we have failed to put a convincing case for the retention of traditional marriage as a civil institution that i reckon we need to acknowledge our failure rather than resorting to scare tactics, misrepresentation and personal attacks.
        Penny Wong puts a convincing and measured argument why Christians and other faith groups should not impose their religious views on others.

        How about we as supporters of traditional marriage counter with something a little more convincing and measured than the old “all major religions” argument?How does that counter her basic argument anyway?

        Personally i see no reason at all why Christians should receive ‘special treatment’ in this or any other civil matter. Nor do I see any compelling reason why the government should support ‘traditional marriage’ and not support committed same sex relationships by affording legal recognition.”All relationships matter”‘ as this page once proclaimed. And in any of those committed relationships children are already being raised and civil society as a whole does benefit from the further strengthening of these relationships by more robust legal recognition.

        Where I do agree with you (and presumably not with Nick) is in asserting that it is more just and equitable overall to retain the traditional meaning of marriage. I believe that ‘different but equal’ recognition of same sex relationships (cf Croatia) would have been a real possibility if people like yourself had not rendered this outcome impossible. It is an open secret that much of this stems from your moral stance on homosexuality (orientation as well as behaviour) and i would suggest that it is this moral stance that Penny Wong says should not be imposed on society as a whole under the guise of ‘civic concern’.

        Those of us Christians who do not hold the same stance on same sex attraction and relationships are struggling to forgive you for the damage you have done to the retaining of a traditional definition of marriage.

        • AJ

          Can you please point out the personal attack, Margaret?

          Christians have never sought ‘special treatment’ on this issue, only to have the same right as everyone else to have a voice. The call from Penny to silence debate from one group of society is regrettable.

          We have always said ‘find another word.’ However, SSM activists are very clear they want ‘marriage.’

          Margaret, many homosexuals also oppose SSM, I assume you don’t believe it’s their view of homosexuality that has caused them to oppose a change to the definition of marriage?

          • AJ I am at a loss to answer your first point.The whole tone of your article is both disrespectful to Senator Wong and disparaging of her views.Unless you are on terms of personal friendship with her I am puzzled by why you are using her first name (as opposed to your use for example of “Mr Shorten” , and of course of “Senator Abetz”.
            Why you speak of her so disrespectfully I leave for others to judge.

            As it happens I disagree with Senator Wong’s views, because Ii believe they are based on the misconception that supporters of traditional marriage are motivated primarily by their religious views. However I am hardly surprised that she should have reached this conclusion given the nature of the debate in Australia. Certainly reading this blog and the AMF Facebook page she would reach this conclusion not simply on a general basis but on the basis that those religious views include a strong condemnation of same sex attraction and that this condemnation is most often’ claimed to be ‘biblically based’.
            I would suggest that she has simply not had an opportunity to hear from Christians who neither condemn same sex attraction nor consider our religious views should receive favoured treatment.
            Your assertion that Christians of your own persuasion are not asking for special treatment may be sincere, but I would suggest is not entirely convincing. Conversely, as Nick points out, Senator Wong is not seeking to silence Christians or any other religious group but simply to point out that we are not entitled to special treatment.

            You have rarely, in recent years at least, said “find another word” and the Christian leaders who have attempted to put forward this argument have certainly not received your support.

            I also note that the many ‘homosexuals’ (your word) who oppose SSM are rarely featured in your campaign (though quoted in your book) and that the statement is in fact fairly meaningless without some qualification, given the increasing percentage of the Australian population that ‘oppose’ marriage per se.I am aware that there are ‘many’ same sex attracted Australians who do not want marriage for themselves, some simply because they prefer another form of legal recognition (cf the UK campaign for civil partnerships for all couples). I challenge you to produce evidence of a significant number of same sex attracted Australians who oppose the availability of marriage for same sex couples even if they do not wish it for themselves.

            I reiterate that I do not personally support the redefinition of marriage as the most appropriate conclusion to the current debate, and that I consider any redefinition that does occur to be attributable at least partly to the nature of the campaign run by AMF and other ‘pro marriage’ groups.

  6. AJ and Margaret; why isn’t it as straight forward as the following. No religious claptrap, no disgust at how people might give each other bodily pleasure.

    The case for same sex marriage rests upon practically all the functions of a committed personal relationship between two people being the same whether the two people are of the same sex or male – female. So, if 99% of person – person interactions and joint activities are exactly the same, why not use the same name for the relationships?

    Because the 1% difference is incredibly important to society. The 1% difference that the male – female union has is what continues human existence. Without it human existence would cease in a generation. In no way at all can a same sex union fulfill that vital function. Deshalb there cannot be equality of importance to society of same sex and male – female unions. Furthermore, that 1% difference that is so vital to society requires that the woman undergo disfigurement of her body, risks to her health and her life and pain. That is a sacrifice for the sake of the human race that a man cannot cause to happen to another man or a woman cannot cause to happen to another woman.

    It may not be stated this way, but that is what marriage has for all time past meant – the union of a woman with a man to sacrifice her body for the sake of the human race. The words that we use embody concepts; we must not demean marriage by having it no longer imply sacrifice by a woman of her body to continue human existence. By extending the name marriage to a man – man couple or to a woman – woman couple we implicitly deny societal recognition of the sacrifice of her body that a woman makes when she unites with a man.

    • David thank you as always for such a deeply insightful comment.If only more people were prepared to look at the deeper issues.

      As I have said I do not support redefining marriage .however I would reluctantly say that we (supporters of traditional marriage) have already watched silently while the meaning of marriage has been lost.We are now paying the price for that, because whatever we may think of Senator Wong personally (9and i am appalled by some comments AMF and others allow to remain on their Facebook pages) she is speaking from a perspective shared by the majority of Australians.

      From the perspective of this practical ‘redefinition’ of marriage that has already taken place it is far more difficult to argue against legal change.

      I would also gently point out that the acceptability of marriage for heterosexual couples no longer (or never) able to fulfil your vision of marriage has always been acceptable in secular law

  7. Margaret, thank you for your appreciation. You say if only more people were prepared to look at deeper issues. You alone almost it seems to me see the point of my occasional comments. You raise the difficulty of childless couples fitting my reason for reserving the word marriage for all male – female unions. I think that does not invalidate my sine qua non argument. So long as they are male and female they belong to the class where a woman unites with a male and allows her body to be used to pass on life. Yes, I think that the same sex lobby has won the debate with their presenting the issue as injustice in a myriad of ways in the public arena.

    • Thanks David.
      I raise the point of ‘inevitably childless’ couples (ie those who marry knowing that for whatever reason they cannot have children) because it seems to me one we have to be prepared to address.
      In the faith tradition (Anglican) in which I was raised I don’t recall that it was mentioned ( I may well have simply not noted it) but in the faith tradition (Catholic) to which i have belonged for almost 40 years it is clearly an issue, though I find that few ordinary Catholics are aware of it.Quite simply a couple marrying must be capable of consummating the marriage.

      If we were to apply that argument to civil marriage, then same sex couples would automatically be excluded.But so would be those with particular disabilities, as (in principle at least ) they are excluded from sacramental marriage in a Catholic church.

      Conversely (and here I am perhaps playing devil’s advocate) if we take a broader definition than your own, such as the ‘classic Anglican’ one of the purpose of marriage (‘procreation of children’, ‘remedy for sin’ and ‘mutual society, help and comfort’) we might argue (setting aside any definition of homosexual acts as sin) that a same sex couple might ‘qualify’ on at least one and possibly two counts. ‘Remedy for sin’ in this instance is as much as anything about avoiding promiscuity .
      We might even argue that, since scripture clearly favours the remarriage of a widowed woman (or man) in order to ensure a secure upbringing for their children, a same sex couple might qualify on all 3 counts, with ‘procreation’ replaced by upbringing of children.

      So if we want to find something ‘unique’ about marriage we arguably have to narrow our own definition/understanding.Since most of us (even as Christians) may experience some discomfort in doing so (I’ve not noted too many Catholic priests who want to state unequivocally that a quadriplegic cannot marry) I think we need to be prepared to examine our presuppositions about marriage a little more deeply than most of us are doing in the heat of the current debate.

      Ad at the same time we need to accept that almost none of this makes any sense at all to Senator Wong and other supporters of what they genuinely see as ‘marriage equality’. We are simply at odds as regards the meaning of marriage. As Senator Wong understands marriage she and her partner are just as eligible as a heterosexual couple.Unsurprisingly perhaps she assumes that the ‘obstacle’ is religious belief.

      In a sense I think she is right! Not because we as supporters of traditional marriage are pointing to a particular religious text but because our understanding of what it means to be human and (to quote again from my Anglican youth] ‘to do [our] duty in that state of life unto which it shall please God to call [us] ‘necessarily differs from her own.

      We carry that understanding (whether consciously or not) into every aspect of our life in the world. We cannot be ‘conformed to the standards of the world,’ but neither can we expect that the world, lacking our central belief, can readily be conformed to ours.

      • Margaret,

        Rodney Croom admitted recently that only about 40% strongly supported “marriage equality.” The largest survey ever done on a legal “same-sex marriage” recently found 33% strongly supported a change to the Marriage Act. Last Sunday, I attended an Anglican Church- youth-young adult service and there were only 4 people who indicated that they supported “same-sex marriage” which was less than 8% of this congregation. Everybody was shocked including the minister because we had been told by the media that at least 65% of Christians supported “Marriage Equality” and the percentage was higher in the youth and young adults, but it was clearly obvious that support for change wasn’t in this congregation. I have talked to lots of people over the past couple of years and I have only come across a few people who were strongly supportive of a legal “same-sex marriage.” I doubt very much that the majority of Australians would change the Marriage Act if they got the opportunity to vote in a plebiscite.

        • Thanks Janine.
          It would be interesting to know how strongly the same people felt about legal recognition in general. That is the discussion we are not having.

  8. I have been Married for 48 years to a member of the ONLY opposite sex i believe exists. We created and raised 3 beautiful children, none of whom have an identity crisis. Daily we are all
    Subjected to Vitriol, Bullying and Outlandish statementments by the LGBT ETC. designed to destroy the very fabric of Traditional Marriage and Family, i have heard enough. Forsaking all others is a part of Marriage and family, Children raised by the Mother and Father who created them is their Natural Right. How can Same Sex/etc. couples claim they are entitled to the same Institution of Marriage as my Husband and I, any children of that relationship would not be from forsaking all others. I do not believe the statistics quoted for agreement of Same Sex Marriage, NO one i know is for it, the suggestion abhorrent .. I suggest the LGBT etc. Design their own contract by any other name but Marriage, they do not qualify…Can they only try to destroy the very way i and many others live our lives to justify theirs. We are heading down a very slippery slope and our Children will be the fatalities of it, confronted and confused by an enviroment filled with nudity, violence, graphic sexuality, and perverse behaviour.

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