The reality is that many people have long and deeply held beliefs about marriage that were formed long before there was any debate about its fundamental nature. They didn’t wake up a month or two ago and say, “Oh, “I’m going to stick my neck out and believe that marriage is between one man and one woman”.
Neither did they decide that they would oppose marriage-law change because they hate or want to harm any person or segment of the community. It’s the debate on marriage-law that has moved and people are being asked to decide if they will move too.
For many people of faith, marriage is deeply entwined with fundamental beliefs about the nature of humanity, the expression of relationship and the very essence of God. It is not something on a bit of paper in isolation. That’s why, in many cases, the marriages of these people are among the most resilient in society – something they want to pass on to their children.
Whether we are a majority or minority is difficult to say. Whether marriage will be somehow harmed is yet to be seen. In the long run, the heart-felt belief of individuals in the context of a supportive faith-community and in relation with God is more important than any law, or anyone else’s view.
In the Parliament today, of the 30 members who spoke on marriage, 18 said an extraordinary majority in their electorates supported retaining the current definition of marriage, six said they favoured changed and six didn’t indicate the numbers in their electorate.
This does not equate to a large majority who are homophobic or hateful towards gay people, it is a large majority who hold certain beliefs about marriage, many for deeply personal or religious views. These are as valid as any of the populist, media-savvy voices that we hear.
For a couple of posts on marriage, check out Australian Christian News