THE diocese of Sydney's synod has approved a booklet opposing same-sex marriage that equates same-sex marriage with divorce-law reform.
The Australian government’s 1975 legislation, which approved no-fault divorce, had resulted in “widespread infidelity” and had come at a “big cost — emotional, psychological and economic”, the booklet, What Has God Joined Together?, says. “We opposed those legal changes then, and we’ve been shown right to have done so,” it continues.
The booklet, designed for distribution in parishes, also says that same-sex marriage is no more inevitable than communism. “In the 1920s, progressives proclaimed communism was inevitable in Australia. Then, in the 1950s, conservatives said a war on communism was inevitable. As it turned out, both were wrong.”
New Zealand, it says, is the only country in Asia-Pacific to introduce same-sex marriage. Australians are hearing about it only because of the American Supreme Court decision, it continues, without mentioning decisions in Britain, Ireland, or elsewhere in Europe.
The booklet has been produced by a Plebiscite Task Force that has been established by Sydney diocese to argue against same-sex marriage in the lead-up to the national plebiscite proposed by the Federal Government. Because the opposition Labor Party decided this week to oppose the plebiscite legislation, however, it is unlikely to be passed by the Senate.
The Rt Revd Dr Michael Stead, a Sydney regional bishop who chairs the Task Force, told the synod that he expected there would be pressure again for a plebiscite. “The booklet aims to engage, equip, and embolden Sydney Anglicans to be a part of the debate on same-sex marriage”, he said.