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In defence of the authentic meaning of marriage - Canberra, 16 August 2011

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 Contents - Aug 2011AD2000 August 2011 - Buy a copy now
Homily: Benedict XVI: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Pope Benedict XVI
The Carbon (dioxide) Tax: a religious perspective - Peter Finlayson
News: The Church Around the World
Britain's anti-Christian brave new world - AD2000 REPORT
Events: In defence of the authentic meaning of marriage - Canberra, 16 August 2011 - Babette Francis
Bishop Conley on the new Missal translation: 'The very words of God' - Bishop James Conley
Defending the Catholic Church against ill-informed attacks - Fr John Flynn LC
Obituary: John Wright (1923-2011): pillar of the Catholic faith - Michael Gilchrist
Exegesis: Genesis account of creation and fall: what does the Church teach? - John Young
Young adult Catholic ministry: further progress - Br Barry Coldrey
Letters: Archbishop Hickey - Frank Bellet
Letters: Unseen kindness - Anne Lastman
Letters: , - Arnold Jago
Letters: Catholic schools - Fr Brendan Dillon PP
Letters: No oxygen - Fr M. Durham
Letters: Rose-coloured glasses - Cathy Cleary
Letters: Christian heritage - Fr Bernard McGrath
Letters: Anglican ordinariate - Michael Apthorp
Books: PRODIGAL DAUGHTERS: Catholic women come home to the Church, ed. Donna Steichen - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: STANDARD-BEARERS OF THE FAITH: Lives of the Saints for Young and Old - Terri Kelleher (reviewer)
Poetry: Consequences - Bruce Dawe
Books: Order books from
Reflection: The new evangelisation: 'missionary spirit' needed - Fr Dennis W. Byrnes

On 16 August the Australian Family Association, the Fatherhood Foundation, Endeavour Forum and other pro-family groups are celebrating National Marriage Day with a breakfast at Parliament House, Canberra. The international guest speaker is Mrs Rebecca Hagelin, US radio host and author of 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.

This celebration comes against a backdrop of escalating attacks by the homosexual lobby on the Christian concept of marriage. Homosexuals are not placated by the availability of same-sex registers or civil unions, but demand an entitlement to marriage. What they are seeking under slogans like "Marriage Equality" is an affirmation by church and society that homosexual partnerships are as moral as marriage.

In mid-June French legislators rejected a bill to legalise "homosexual marriage" by a decisive vote of 293-222 in the National Assembly, France's lower legislative house, but at the end of June the New York Senate approved same-sex "marriage" 33-29, making New York the sixth US state allowing people of the same sex to marry.

The New York Assembly had already passed the Bill, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, the driving force behind the legislation, signed it immediately.


Michelle Mulledy, Concerned Women for America state director in New York, said: "The people of New York feel betrayed by last night's vote ... The religious exemptions were a smoke screen that will not hold up when challenged. They do not extend to people like bakers, florists and others whose religious beliefs would be violated if forced to provide their services at a same-sex 'marriage'. ... The homosexual community wants more than 'marriage' they want complete acceptance by society. One of the biggest questions facing us now is what will be taught in the public schools in regard to same-sex 'marriage'."

The most courageous opponent of homosexual 'marriage' was NY state Senator Ruben Diaz, a Democrat representing the State's 32nd district. He defied his party by opposing the homosexual Bill and told the four Republicans who voted for it they "had completely left the party of family values." CWA has warned that these Republicans will be targeted in the next elections and that "the battle is far from over to defend marriage as instituted by God."

The amendment that provided religious exemptions passed 36-26, but Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage, criticised its language, saying it was deceptive and did not guarantee religious entities will not be faced with the choice of going out of business or violating core beliefs, as has happened in other states which have legalised same-sex 'marriage.'

"Several religious liberty scholars say they cannot even tell whether the language will permit Catholic adoption agencies to stay in business", said Brown. He promised to commit at least $2 million for the elections in 2012 to topple from office the Republicans who voted for homosexual 'marriage'.

Prior to the vote, the state's Catholic bishops had issued an impassioned appeal urging senators to protect marriage: "The Bishops of New York State oppose in the strongest terms any attempt to redefine the sacred institution of marriage. The matter of religious exemptions has been and continues to be a secondary issue that in no way negates the fact that this bill is bad for society. We urge all Senators to vote no on Governor Cuomo's bill. Marriage has always been, is now, and always will be the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, life-giving union. Government does not have the authority to change this most basic of truths."

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan warned it was a "perilous presumption" for the state to reinvent a God-given institution which has been the cornerstone of Western civilisation: "It is an undeniable truth that marriage is one man, one woman, united in lifelong love and fidelity, hoping for children ... the same-sex 'marriage' issue is not about 'true freedom' ... not every chic cause deserves to be called a right.

"And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mum and a dad? Children are the reason why marriage is not just another economic arrangement or domestic partnership. Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits: It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to procreate children."

Notwithstanding the bill's religious exemptions, Archbishop Dolan said it is not a far cry to say that Catholics will be "coerced to violate our deepest beliefs to accommodate the state decree" - pointing to Canada and the UK as examples.

There are important lessons for Australians from the homosexual 'marriage' vote in New York. The issue will be debated in December at the Labor Party's national conference, and if the vote is in favour of homosexual 'marriage', it may be on the government's agenda next year as the Greens are already committed to it. The Coalition is opposed, and we hope that none of their MPs will be seduced by the chimera of "amendments" as some were during the debate on Victoria's Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008.

In the meantime Christians should not be discouraged: "Though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him, you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls " (I Peter 1:6-9).

For details about the Marriage Day Breakfast in Parliament House, Canberra, refer to the website:

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 7 (August 2011), p. 7

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