While stopping short of calling for a Yes vote, two NSW bishops have broken ranks with the No side in the same-sex marriage debate, The Australian reports.
Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Bill Wright said a “common good” argument could be made that “in our pluralist society, it does more for community peace and harmony for gay couples to have a place in the recognised structures than for them to be excluded”.
In an article published on his diocesan website, Bishop Wright said: “I wrote some time ago that the push for same-sex marriage seemed to arise from the desire of gay couples to have an officially sanctioned ceremony to formalise their commitment to each other and then to have that relationship accorded legal and social recognition. It seemed to me then, and now, that in a society where same-sex relationships are legal and gay couples can adopt and raise children, it’s a bit of a legal anomaly that their relationship itself doesn’t have a clear legal status.”
Yesterday, Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long said the postal survey was “an opportunity for us to listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times”.
“Our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have often not been treated with respect, sensitivity and compassion,” Bishop Long said in a pastoral letter. “Regrettably, the Church has not always been a place where they have felt welcomed, accepted and loved.”
Bishop Wright advised Catholics to “look beyond the campaign slogans and anecdotes, and vote for what you believe will be best for our Australian community — now and into future generations”.
The bishops’ comments came as Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman attacked emergency safeguards around the same-sex marriage postal survey as an exercise in “gesture politics” and sounded the alarm on any attempts to make them permanent.
Mr O’Gorman yesterday backed a warning from Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi, who said the passage of temporary protections for the duration of the survey amounted to a version of “18C on steroids”.
“The fact is, a temporary measure today will be a justification for a permanent measure tomorrow,” Mr O’Gorman said yesterday.
Same-sex safeguards just ‘gesture politics’ (The Australian)
Law and social change (Aurora Magazine)
Bishop Vincent’s pastoral letter on the same-sex marriage postal survey (Catholic Outlook)
Single mum rallies a thousand marchers for ‘NO’ vote in Sydney CBD (The Catholic Weekly)
ABS warns Australians not to post same-sex marriage survey forms online (Sydney Morning Herald)
Marriage trashed by straight people not gays, says Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton (Sydney Morning Herald)