Any change to marriage law must include protections for religious freedom

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference with the Media and Communications Office

Today, the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey are in: 61.6 per cent of Australians have voted to legalise same-sex marriage with 7.8 million people responding Yes, and 4.8 million voting No. An estimated 79 per cent of Australians took part in the vote.
In light of today’s release of the results, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart released a statement on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Archdiocese of Melbourne. 
‘Parliament must work to unify Australians by respecting different views on marriage. The Catholic Church, and many others who sought to retain the definition of marriage as it has been understood for centuries, continues to view marriage as a special union between a woman and a man, which allows for the creation and nurture of children,’ Archbishop Hart said.

‘A change in civil law does not change the Catholic understanding of the nature of marriage.

‘The Catholic Church continues to respect the dignity of LGBTIQ Australians and our ministries will continue to care deeply about the dignity and value of all people we encounter.

‘Parliamentarians must recognise and respect the concerns of the more than 4.8 million Australians who opposed a change to the definition of marriage by putting in place strong conscience and religious freedom protections.

‘These protections must ensure that Australians can continue to express their views on marriage, that faith-based schools can continue to teach the traditional understanding of marriage and that organisations can continue to operate in a manner that is consistent with those values.’
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