getting real on same-sex marriage
Is it too much to ask for people to state clearly and honestly the agendas that they push?
This was the question that entered my mind yesterday when I read the news and saw that the Queensland government had come close to repealing the same-sex civil union laws put in place by the previous Labor government.
To be clear, this post is not about what one thinks about gay civil unions, let alone gay marriage…
What happened in Queensland was that civil unions for same-sex couples were nearly repealed and state-sanctioned ceremonies for such unions have been removed. Such same about largely because of the long-time lobbying efforts of the Queensland branch of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).
Here’s the problem: the ACL campaign to-date has focused on retaining the so-called “traditional” definition of marriage. Take, for example, the ACL case made in this debate from the Sunrise program on Thursday the 7th June:
Here Jim Wallace focuses on the notion that marriage is to be defined (unalterably) as being between a man and a woman, and that such a definition of marriage implies the best for children. Of course Wallace is well with in his rights to argue this viewpoint, just as he is within his rights to believe that homosexuality itself is wrong.
But of course a civil union is not a marriage. Moreover a ceremony related to a civil union is no more a wedding than is a house warming for a de facto couple.
This, however, has not stopped the ACL from campaigning against civil unions in Queensland. Never mind that civil unions have nothing to do with children or parenthood.
What is clear is that the ACL agenda is not about “protecting” the “traditional” understanding of marriage. Even if civil unions are deemed to “mimic” marriage, that does not make them the same, any more than a child mimicking a superhero is that superhero.
Externally the ACL claims to be about protecting a supposedly traditional (but historically recent) notion of marriage and the right of children to have a mother and father. However the agenda underneath is to impose a theological viewpoint on the rest of the Australian population who do not share this perspective.
As mentioned, to hold such views is well within the rights of those holding them. But it is a lie to claim that it is anything but these views that are the motive for the ACL’s lobbying. Why else would they lobby against same-sex civil unions, a state institution that is by definition not marriage?
In any case, for Christians to disproportionately enshrine their views in state legislation, thus putting their trust in that process, is to forego Jesus’ own vocation of embodying kingdom values and bringing about change, not through imposition but through winning over hearts and minds (see my recent post on this). Perhaps if Christians had a lesser rate of divorce then they might have something to say to the rest of society about marriage.
But we don’t.
None of this is to even engage the debate about Christianity, homosexuality and marriage, a debate that is necessary, ongoing and appropriate for another time.
All I am trying to say here is that we need to be, as far as we are aware and able, honest about our motives in political debates and discourse. If the ACL, as the case study in this post, is so adamant regarding the truth of its theological beliefs about homosexuality, then why does it hide behind the thin veil of a feigned passion for the legal definition of marriage? By arguing from this perspective the ACL is being disingenuous by opposing same-sex civil unions. Is it too much to ask for a Christian group to simply tell the truth?
But of course the ACL aren’t fooling anyone, are they? Their supporters affirm their discomfort with homosexuality. Their opponents and critics recognise the smokescreen.