Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has made a public intervention in the national debate over “Gay Marriage”. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, he sets out his opposition:

We are in the midst of a sustained and brilliantly orchestrated campaign to radically alter the marriage laws of this country to allow same-sex marriage.

Three slogans carry the message: ‘‘marriage equality’‘, ‘‘marriage won’t change’‘, ‘‘it’s inevitable’‘. Of course, the difficulty with slogans is that they are not arguments and, so, are hard to refute, except by slogans in return.

He then proceeds to deal with each of those three messages in turn. Here’s some of what he has to say,

In fact, all of us oppose ‘‘marriage equality’’ if that means it is the right of every person to marry anyone they choose.

We may not marry a minor, for example, even if we want to and if the minor and his/her parents agree. There is a relevant difference. Nor may we marry a person already married. Bigamy is a crime, even if all parties agree to it. Likewise, siblings may not marry, even if they are past the age of having children.

If ‘‘marriage equality’’ was meaningful, it should encompass all these possibilities. It does not.

In general terms, the ‘‘right’’ to marry already exists. Any adult can marry provided that a proper person (not a sibling, minor, or member of the same sex) is also willing, for that is what marriage is. What we rightly lack is the right to marry anyone we choose without discrimination.

It’s not as though when marriage was defined we simply overlooked the possibility of two people of the same sex being married. We are not fixing an accidental omission. We would be changing a very deliberate, relevant exclusion.

Another slogan says extending marriage to include two men or two women would change nothing essential. Your own marriage would not change. There would be no bad consequences.

But it’s not true.

My marriage would be different. It’s no good asserting otherwise. When a society redefines one of its basic institutions, it affects everyone. I would have to find a different word for my marriage, or add the rider ‘‘heterosexual’’ to the word ‘‘marriage’‘.

Is it all inevitable?

The stylish and confident propaganda has become pervasive. Federal politics is in danger of being distorted. Those who are doubtful or opposed have been tempted to remain silent rather than be accused of promoting hate. But it is interesting that in 30 US states where the matter has been put to a direct vote (as against imposed legislative or judicial change), the majority voted against ‘‘gay marriage’‘. There is also evidence of electoral fatigue in Britain and Australia.

Same-sex marriage is not inevitable. It is not even possible. It would be better for us all if the law reflected the truth human beings have always known. Social engineering cannot change realities as basic as these. But the consequences of an attempt may still be painful.

The letters page over the next few days should be interesting.

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