Same-sex relationship and the law

By Brian Edgar

Traditionally, civil marriage has been defined as being for a man and a woman. But some want that changed to enable two people of the same sex to marry. Civil unions and registered relationships  are also possibilities for people of the same sex. This paper discusses the Biblical, social and legal aspects of the debate about same-sex unions in the light of legal proposals within the Australian state, territory and federal legislatures. I prepared it for the Australian Evangelical Alliance. The paper promotes two sets of convictions:

  • The promotion of a biblical view of marriage and family in society
  • The necessity to act justly for all, irrespective of their beliefs.

The possible options include:

  1. A redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples
  2. The creation of civil unions as an alternative, to be treated as marriage in every way.
  3. Relationship registration which allows for recognition of a range of relationships (including same-sex relationships).
  4. Piece by piece modification of legislation: achieving justice with regard to financial and other matters for same-sex couples by modifying individual pieces of legislation.
  5. Lifestyle demonstration: the implications of the fact that church is called to demonstrate a biblical model of marriage and family.

The paper concludes

  • that the re-definition of marriage to include same-sex unions, and the creation of civil unions as an alternative to marriage are both inappropriate.
  • that the creation of a relationship register (which is not seen as an alternative to marriage) is an appropriate way of handling certain issues of justice relating to a variety of relationships, and possibly more effective than the alteration of individual pieces of legislation.
  • that what is of primary theological importance, however, is the life of the church which is to live out marriage and family relationships in a positive and healthy manner in a context where justice is done for all.

See also the Statement on Marriage and Family

The whole paper may be downloaded here Same-sex relationships and the law

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