Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Gay marriage plebiscite for Australia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will take the issue of gay marriage to the country with a national plebiscite

The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev. Glenn Davies, has endorsed the government’s decision to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage by holding a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage. On 14 August 2015 Dr. Davies said: “I believe that marriage is a foundational concept to our society and indeed to human civilisation as a whole, in accordance with God’s own plan for all people, and it is intrinsic to the continuation of the human race as the bedrock of the family from which succeeding generations are born.” He added “despite the relentless campaign by some sections of the community, it is only now that other views are starting to be heard in the media, not only from the churches. The discussion must include the implications for children and the family unit, not just sloganeering.” Last Wednesday Prime Minister Tony Abbott (pictured) said his government would hold a national plebiscite after the next general election. “The only way to successfully and satisfactorily settle this matter, given that it is so personal and given that so many people have strong feelings on either side of this — the only way to settle it with the least rancor, if you like, is to ask the people to make a choice,” Mr. Abbott told reporters. “That means that going into the next election, you’ll have the Labor Party which wants it to go to a Parliamentary vote and you’ve got the coalition that wants it to go to a people’s vote,” he said. The results of a plebiscite are non-binding upon the government in power and are used to express popular will. Since the formation of the present constitutional system in 1901, three plebiscites have been held — two during World War I on conscription, and a third in 1977 over replacing “God Save the Queen” with “Advance Australia Fair” as the country’s national anthem. By taking the issue directly to the people, Mr. Abbott “recognises the national importance of a debate about the definition of marriage as well as the strength of feeling on both sides,” Dr. Davies said. “ Yet the debate has been unhelpfully politicised, which is why it should be decided by the people directly. If the majority of Australians desire a change to the time-honoured understanding of marriage, then so be it. The Prime Minister is graciously offering this option so that we, the people, may have our say on the future of marriage in Australia.” Dr Davies said.

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