14 August 2017

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney is one of four lead members of the Coalition for Marriage. The official campaign website provides information about the consequences of redefining marriage for all Australians, and opportunities to assist in ensuring the Marriage Act remains unchanged.

The Coalition for Marriage is comprised of more than 80 groups from across Australia, representing over 3 million people and which, along with the Archdiocese, is led by the Australian Christian Lobby, Marriage Alliance, and the Anglican Diocese of Sydney.

It will be the leading voice in the campaign opposing changes to the Marriage Act.

The Coalition for Marriage launches Official Campaign in light of the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite

In addition to the four lead organisations, Coalition for Marriage includes the Australian Family Association, Australian Chinese for Families Association, Doctors for the Family, the National Civic Council, Christian Schools Australia, and more.

On the day of the launch, the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, spoke about the concerns many Australians had about their ability to even express their views on marriage and the gender ideology which will come with a redefinition of marriage.

Speaking to The Australian, the Archbishop said that the proposed protections for religious freedom only dealt with religious ministers and civil celebrants, a tiny proportion of the Australian people, rather than providing any source of comfort to ordinary Australians.

From The Australian's report:

"What protections will be ­offered to people who work for church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities?" he said. "Will teachers be free to teach church teaching on marriage or will they be forced to teach a more politically correct curriculum?

"Will employers of such church agencies be free to choose staff in sympathy with their church's teachings? Will Catholic welfare agencies be required to provide marriage preparation or marriage counselling for same-sex couples on pain of being dragged before anti-discrimin­ation tribunals?"

Archbishop Fisher also rejected arguments that the legalisation of same-sex marriage would not have broader consequences. "Many people believe that redefining marriage won't affect them," he said. "Respectfully, I would say they need to take another look - it will affect every Australian.

"In other parts of the world that have legalised same-sex marriage, those who believe in traditional marriage have been harassed or coerced into complying with the new view of marriage. It would be extremely naive to think that won't happen here.

In relation to the formation of the broader Coalition for Marriage, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton, said that the formation of the Coalition was a significant step in the marriage debate.

"For too long, Australians who are uncomfortable with the redefinition of marriage, or are unsure about the consequences for education and free speech have been silenced. This campaign is the opportunity for Australians to be informed and have their say on the consequences of changing the Marriage Act - the impact on free speech, the impact on what our kids are taught at school."

"The coming together of family and community organisations, the partnering of faith-based communities with non-religious ones, and the diversity of the 3 million people they represent shows them that they are not alone."

Damian Wyld, CEO of another founding organisation, Marriage Alliance said: "Though we are many different groups, some of faith, some not, we all believe in the importance of freedom of speech, religion, and the total rejection of radical sex education programs in our schools. We now stand together and encourage the community to stand with us in our campaign."

The Archbishop has urged everyone to sign up for more information, to volunteer and to donate at the Coalition for Marriage website: http://www.coalitionformarriage.com.au.

He also urged everyone who was not enrolled to vote to enrol with the Australian Electoral Commission by 24 August, and for everyone who had recently moved to update their details on the same site.

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