Empowering young Australians to be a clear Christian voice
from Senator Eric Abetz’s address to the Young Liberal National Conference in Sydney:
Labor has broken their trust with the Australian people. Labor promised that marriage would remain as it always has been: a heterosexual construct. But the Greens foisted same-sex marriage onto the Labor agenda. Make no mistake, Labor is only giving MP’s a conscience vote to salve their collective conscience about breaking yet another election promise not to change the definition of marriage. So this call for a conscience vote on changing the definition of marriage is a blatant diversionary tactic one to which we have not fallen for as a Coalition and one that we should not fall for.
The institution of marriage and family as correctly understood is the bedrock institution of our society. Sure, it provides stability, security and comfort. It provides an avenue for the expression of love. We can think of a whole lot of other wholesome characteristics.
Whilst all these characteristics are good and necessary in pursuing a fulfilling life, these are not the full essence of marriage. These characteristics are ultimately not what makes marriage unique. People can find those benefits in other relationships as well, indeed all the benefits I’ve just outlined are self- focused. Marriage is different, it’s more than just “love”—with apologies to the Beatles—it’s not as easy as “love is all you need”.
Marriage is the pre-eminent institution for the raising of the next generation. Society’s interest in the relationship is because of children. Marriage is a bedrock institution because it is the best environment in which to raise children. Marriage has been part of society for millennia. It has been the coming together of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others for thousands of years.
Marriage was important enough a subject to be referred to in our Federal Constitution. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 16 also deems it necessary to refer to marriage. Why? Because to quote Article 16, subclause 3 “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state”. A close examination of the Declaration reveals that every single article starts with the words “everyone”, “none” or “all” apart from Article 16. Article 16 specifically begins with “Men and women… have the right to marry and found a family”.
The meaning and intent could not be clearer. It is a heterosexual construct and relates to the founding of families. Marrying and founding a family in the same breath, in the same sentence puts up in lights the universal importance of marriage and the family. That marriage is between a man and a woman is specifically mentioned in the Declaration should not surprise. Marriage has been a fundamental stabilising institution in civilised societies for over 6,000 years of recorded history. This long lasting tradition has stood the test of time and for good reason—it’s got some very cogent, rational arguments in its favour. A long lasting relationship in which children are nurtured, exposing them to the benefits of the unique differences of a father and a mother provides the best environment for raising children. Study after study has confirmed this to be the case. Yet again, hardly surprising. So to deliberately and unnecessarily deprive a child of the diversity of a mother and a father experience is not in the child’s best interests.
Put simply, two men or two women with the best will in the world can’t provide the diversity and vital experience that a mother/father home provides. Obtaining a good understanding of how to interact with the opposite sex is vital for the perpetuation of society. As the progressive research institution Child Trends has found “research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children and the family structure that helps the children most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single parent relationships, children born to unmarried mothers and children in step-families or co-habiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes. There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents. It is not simply the presence of two parents but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development”.
This 2002 research has been replicated many, many times in other studies and it is because of these reasons that governments have positively discriminated in favour of the married family unit for the benefit of society and its next generation. In recent times, we have regrettably diluted this positive discrimination in favour of marriage in the name of equality.
In doing so, we have reduced the importance of marriage and the consequences are there for all to see with the greater rates of delinquency and other negative social scores. We deprive the next generation and thus society if we diminish the role of marriage.
Marriage by its definition and purpose is highly specific. It always has been heterosexual specific. That does not make it unequal or discriminatory. To try and make it into something else will change its very definition. The sex of the spouses is determinative of marriage just as the sex of the person is determinative of discussing motherhood.
We can change the definition of motherhood but then motherhood won’t mean and be motherhood anymore. And for the record the same of course applies to fatherhood. It would then of course be diminished to something nondescript such as parenthood and the important role of motherhood and fatherhood and their distinct yet complementary roles will simply be diminished in a sea of meaningless political correctness to the great detriment to the next generation.
There are many restrictions on marriage:
If the same sex disqualification is to be addressed as “discrimination”, it begs the question: Can it be asserted that the other qualifications are also inherently discriminatory and indicative of ageism, family-phobia or polyamorous-phobia?