Marriage Battle Picks Up Steam in Australia: ‘No Parliament or Court has the Authority to Repeal Biology’

By Patrick Goodenough | June 29, 2015 | 4:13am EDT
The White House is lit up in rainbow colors to mark the Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage a right, on Friday, June 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) – “No parliament or court has the authority to repeal biology,” an Australian pro-family campaigner said at the weekend as the ripple effects of the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling lent additional momentum to a growing campaign to redefine marriage in Australia.

Australian Marriage Forum president David van Gend said decisions like the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage is a right was a reflection of “the moral dementia of the West.”

Describing the court decision as an “historic act of social self-mutilation” akin to Roe vs. Wade, van Gend warned it will lead to “a new era of civil discord.”

“We must not let that happen here.”

“If same-sex couples cannot marry, that is because they do not meet nature’s job description for marriage and family: marriage and childbearing is a specifically male-female phenomenon in nature, and no parliament or court has the authority to repeal biology,” he said.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision America’s biggest LGBT civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is throwing its backing behind the Australian campaign.

The HRC expressed support for the activist group Australian Marriage Equality, whose national convenor Rodney Croome says his country is “now the only developed, English-speaking country that doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry.”

“We welcome the Human Rights Campaign’s support for the Australian campaign because it will muster support across the world and highlight how far Australia is falling behind,” said Croome.

“Now marriage equality has been achieved in the U.S., all eyes will be on Australia with the hope we are next.”

The leader of Australia’s official opposition Labor Party, Bill Shorten, recently introduced a bill that would alter the definition of who can be legally married by replacing the words “man and women” with “two people.”

“Those eight words [‘the union of a man and a woman’] maintain a fiction that any other relationship is somehow inferior,” Shorten said when introducing the bill on June 1.

The issue was thrust into the political spotlight a decade ago, when Australians who had solemnized same-sex marriages in Canada tried to get courts in their own country to declare those unions to be valid and legal.

In response, the federal parliament in 2004 defined marriage explicitly as a union between a man and a woman.

The next skirmish occurred in 2013, when the federal parliament defeated a bill that would have allowed homosexuals and lesbians to marry. At that time both the then-Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, and center-right opposition leader Tony Abbott opposed the bill, and it was voted down 98-42.

That same year the legislature of the Australian Capital Territory, which comprises Canberra and the surrounding area, passed the nation’s first same-sex marriage legislation. It was challenged by the federal government, and just five days after it came into effect in December 2013 the High Court overturned it, declaring it “a matter for the federal parliament.”

In the face of the new parliamentary push, Abbott – now prime minister – remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

“What happens in the United States is obviously a matter for the United States, just as what happened in Ireland a few weeks ago is a matter for the Irish,” he said in Melbourne on Saturday, referring to the Supreme Court decision and to Ireland’s May 22 referendum legalizing same-sex marriage.

“As for our own country, obviously there is a community debate going on,” Abbott said. “I have views on this subject which are pretty well known and they haven’t changed.”

‘The dominos are falling around the world’

Parliament is expected to take up Shorten’s bill when it resumes after the current winter recess.

“This is a joyous day in America,” Shorten said in response to the Supreme Court decision. “In Australia, let us make it a call to action.”

It was the Irish referendum that prompted Shorten to introduce the measure. He told reporters on Saturday that if a “famously religious society” like Ireland could take the step, “why couldn’t we in Australia?”

“America is another society which is very influential in Australia from its media, its culture, to its system of government in many ways,” Shorten added. “So now America too has moved on the path of marriage equality.”

“The dominos are falling around the world at an ever increasing rate, and it’s well beyond time that Australia caught up,” said Nick McKim, a lawmaker with the Australian Green Party.

“Marriage in Australia is a civil institution that belongs to our people, not to the churches which continue to oppose marriage equality,” he added.

But the Australian Christian Lobby slammed the decision by “five unelected judges,” charging that the necessary flow-on effect of making marriage available to same-sex couples is to deny a child either its mother or its father.

“The five judges overturned the democratic votes of more than 50 million Americans in 31 states which have voted to keep marriage as between one man and one woman,” said ACL managing director Lyle Shelton.

“Only 11 states [10 states and DC] permitted same-sex marriage through legislative or voter action. Everywhere else, judges have made the decision for the people on behalf of the homosexual lobby.

“America, the land that gave us ‘we the people,’ has ceded its democracy to ‘you the judges.’”

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