Marriage and Family

Marriage is of critical importance as a social institution. Not everyone will marry but everyone is the child of a relationship between two people of the opposite sex. While the primary responsibility for the health and strength of individual lives and for marriage and family relationships does not lie with legislators, nonetheless lives and relationships can be helped, protected and enhanced by appropriate legislation. Conversely, legislative or other actions which diminish the role and significance of marriage would introduce potentially serious psychological, relational and social problems for individuals, families and society.

The following statement was produced by while working as the Director of Public Theology for the Australian Evangelical Alliance. Through this report the Alliance supported the notion that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and sought to ensure that unions solemnised overseas between same sex couples would not be recognised in Australia. It also wished to prevent intercountry adoptions by same sex couples.

The full report can be downloaded here Statement on Marriage and Family
.  A summary also follows:

It must be recognised that marriage is not primarily or originally a legal construction or possession. Marriage is a pre-existing universal, social and, primarily, religious institution recognised by all major religious faiths and groups as existing uniquely between a man and a woman.  Marriage was defined and established and has contributed to society over millennia precisely as a relationship between two people of opposite sex and an alteration to include same-sex marriages would be a contradiction of one of the basic principles on which it is founded.

The Christian view of family and marriage is based upon an understanding of God’s intentions for people as expressed in the scriptures. Marriage involves (1) a publicly recognised covenanting together for life, (2) between a woman and a man, (3) characterised by a commitment to love and nurture (4) sustained by fidelity, and (5) for the purpose of lifelong companionship, mutual interdependence and responsibility for each other, and potential procreation. (6) It is a symbolic of God’s relationship to his people and Jesus Christ’s relationship to his church.

The public recognition of marriage reinforces its vital social status. Marriage is the cornerstone of the family unit, which in turn is foundational to society.  While the form may vary marriage and family are embedded in every culture as gifts from God and are important for individual psychological development and well-being as well as the maintenance of healthy social relationships. Cultural variations do not mean that the notion of the family is purely subjective or a social construct or a human invention that can be re-formed at will.

Marriage and family have been given special status in law by governments because of their unique role in providing for a stable and committed relationship between women and men and a setting for the raising and nurturing of children.  It is in the interest of society and of government to promote healthy family structures through a recognition of their distinctive nature and role in society.

Same sex relationships exist and have rights, and the extension of superannuation and other property rights to same-sex couples and others in significant relationships is appropriate but same-sex relationships are not marriages.  Marriages are the appropriate context for the bearing and raising of children and, as a matter of care and justice for children, it is appropriate that adoption rights not be extended to same-sex couples.

See also the statement on Same-sex Relationship and the Law.

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