The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, responds to the results of the Australian government’s postal survey on same-sex marriage.
Today was the day that many Australians have been waiting for – the results of the postal survey on same-sex marriage.
The chief statistician reported the overwhelming participation rate of nigh on 80 per cent of the voting public of Australia and of course the results were a clear mandate for the Yes campaign with just over 60 per cent voting Yes and just under 40 per cent voting No.
But that, of course, means that Australia is going to move towards same-sex marriage and as citizens in a democracy, we accept the decision of the Parliament on the basis of the vote of Australians.
Although this won’t prevent me from continuing to teach that marriage, in God’s good design, is between a man and a woman – an exclusive and permanent union. But nonetheless, the reality will be, in a very short period of time, that our Parliament will legislate for same-sex marriage.
Yet, the Parliament needs to recognise that more than one in three Australians are opposed to this change. Therefore, protecting individual freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of faith – need to be balanced with the move to address same-sex marriage. I have heard the Prime Minister say that he believes more strongly in the freedom of religion that in same-sex marriage and I trust that will be demonstrated in the result of the Parliamentary vote on the legislation which will come before it no doubt before Christmas.
We as Christians will continue to be strong in our belief of what God has given to us in His word. Our schools, our churches, our organisations will continue to reflect God’s love in a world of diverse opinions – holding firm to what God has taught us in His word but generously, compassionately and graciously engaging with Australia where matters are in dispute. Where people consider God’s word is not the authority, we must continue to witness to that authority in the way in which Jesus would do so – with love and grace but firmness and boldness and confidence in God’s word for Australia today.