11 March 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Catholic and Islamic religious leaders including Bishop Robert Rabbat, Eparch of the Melkite Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand and Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia, met on Saturday 5 March 2016 at Masjid Arrahman, Kingsgrove where they discussed the issue of the proposed redefinition of marriage to allow for same-sex "marriage".

After the meeting concluded, the leaders united to issue a joint statement, which was read by Sheikh Youssef Nabha.

The text of the statement is as follows:

Our love of religious, family, moral and democratic values, prompts us to speak out in defence of society and humanity:

1.  We announce together, as Christians and Muslims, our support for natural marriage between a man and a woman, and our unity in rejecting the same-sex marriage legislation.

2.  A great many Australians, including people of all faiths and of none, oppose the attempts to change the definition of marriage, outlined in the Marriage Act 1961, to allow for same-sex marriage.

3.  Same-sex marriage does not and never can have the natural significance that characterises marriage between a man and a woman. Such a marriage alone has the natural capacity to establish a family and raise children. A family is the optimal natural framework for children's balanced development. The family, based on complementarity between the sexes, is truly the basis of society. We should neither forget the sanctity of its role nor exploit it to further social experiments and fashionable ideas.

4.  We regret that the media in Australia, which should fairly and impartially cover social issues, seems generally biased when this subject is raised. The media seems to propagate one viewpoint only, that of those who support same-sex marriage, without affording the other opinion a fair hearing.

5.  We are people who believe in God. On the basis of our faith, we condemn all forms of hatred and discrimination against all people. All people possess an inalienable human dignity, including those who experience same-sex attraction.

6.  It is precisely because of our respect for all people of different backgrounds and beliefs that we urgently call for respect of freedom of conscience on this issue. It is shameful that an individual is prohibited from expressing his moral convictions. It is wrong for any political party, especially in this land of personal freedom, to refuse to allow its members to take a principled stand on this issue.

7.  Finally, we declare that there is neither any good reason nor any urgent need to change the traditional understanding of marriage. We call on the faithful and all people of good will to take a moral stand, and to work to prevent the establishment of same-sex marriage in Australia, with the attendant risk of the destabilisation of family and society.

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