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Same-sex marriage (SSM) and civil unions in Australia

Part 6: 2013-JUL/AUG: Anglican church sign goes
viral. SSM bill introduced in Australian Capital

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This is a continuation of the previous essay.

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Throughout this web site, "SSM" refers to marriages by same-sex couples.
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals.

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map of Australia2013-JUL: Rev. Rod Bower of the Gosford Anglican Church posted a message on church bulletin board:

church sign

His church is in the city of Gosford, on the central coast of New South Wales.

Unfortunately, the sign is ambiguous:

  • It could be a statement meaning that Christians should accept that "some people are gay, to get over it and to love God."

  • Others might interpret it as a note from God saying to Christians that "some people are gay, to get over it;" signed "Love, God."

In spite of the ambiguity, it went viral on Facebook. It received over 100,000 hits in 24 hours. Father Bower said he was:

"... overwhelmed. Normally one of my posts might get a few thousand views, but nothing like this. This has gone international now -- there are people liking it all over the world and it is just a little sign in Gosford. ... I have had a number of phone calls and ran into people who have said, 'Good on you; this is really great,' ... I think it shows that it's an important issue and that a lot of people have spiritual questions that are not being met by traditional forms of Christianity. ... The conservative view is not the only view. Marriage equality is a hot issue at the moment and it seems the church is struggling to get over this issue. ... I am reflecting on what the spirit of God might be saying in a modern world." 1

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2013-AUG: Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to introduce the Territory Same-sex Marriage bill:

ACT resembles the District of Columbia in the United States. It is a separate area, an enclave of New South Wales, where the federal government buildings are located. Loving, committed same-sex couples have been able to enter into civil unions there since 2008. ACT's government wants to introduce full marriage equality in the territory.

Simon Corbell, ACT's Attorney-General said:

"We have clear legal advice that such a scheme is possible, constitutionally in the ACT, to provide same-sex couples the highest level of equality. ... The Commonwealth Marriage Act has been constructed as being exclusively between a man and a woman, any other marriage that engages, for example, same-sex couples is not captured by the Commonwealth mandate. ... So that’s the legal opinion that we have very clearly put to us."

"There is a clear majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly that would support such as scheme, and we have a clear legal power to legislate in this space."

"We will be proceeding with the preparation and introduction of that legislation to give same-sex couples legal recognition and legal equality when it comes to the recognition of their relationship."

"The important part is getting the details right. That very fine detail will be quite important, particularly given the potential for legal challenges down the line which certainly some in the community have flagged they may undertake." 2

The government plans to introduce a Territory Same-sex Marriage Act during the 2013-spring session of the Legislative Assembly. Australia is located in the Southern hemisphere where spring starts about SEP-21.

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Support for same-sex marriage among federal political parties in Australia:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called an election for 2013-SEP-07.

There are three main political parties at the federal level:

  • Labor: The party's political platform supports marriage equality. Leader Kevin Rudd voted in 2012 against a private member's bill to legalize SSM. However, in 2013-MAY, he had reversed his position. The party allows its Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote freely, according to their conscience.

  • Liberal: The party fought the 2010 elections with the policy of retaining the restriction of marriage to one woman and one man. Tony Abbott requires Liberal MPs to vote against SSM, irrespective of their personal beliefs. Some Liberal MPs have asked for a free vote.

  • The Greens: Their platform calls for: "the legalization of marriage between two consenting adults regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity." They have introduced bills to legalize SSM and to have the Government recognize same-sex marriages solemnized outside of the country. 3

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2013-AUG-04: Media release by Australian Marriage Equality:

This LGBT-positive group released the following message:

"With the Federal Election now called for September 7th, advocates have vowed to make marriage equality a key issue in the 2013 election, as they aim to increase the numbers of elected members who support the issue in both major parties.

Australian Marriage Equality National Director, Rodney Croome, said,

'More Australians than ever, passionately want our nation to achieve marriage equality and will be taking that aspiration into the ballot box.

In the lead up to the election we will be reaching out to millions of Australians voters through direct mail, social and conventional media, and community events to remind them which candidates support marriage equality and which don’t.'

Mr Croome said marriage equality will not be achieved by any one party.

'Because marriage equality will be achieved by a cross-party conscience vote, we are encouraging voters to cast their ballots for individual candidates who support reform, regardless of their party.'

A poll by Galaxy Research found marriage equality could be an election-deciding issue with a net 11% of Coalition voters saying they are more likely to vote Labor because of Kevin Rudd’s support for the issue while 57% of voters including 37% of Coalition voters said Tony Abbott is out-of-step with community attitudes.

'Recent federal and state marriage equality inquiries have received a far larger response in favour of reform than any other inquiries in Australians history.

This alone should tell election candidates that support for marriage equality is a vote winner.'

Mr Croome said more Coalition and Labor candidates will be going to the polls supporting marriage equality than ever before. 4

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This topic continues on the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Lauren Nicholls, "Gay rights post by Gosford Anglican Parish minster Rod Bower goes viral on Facebook," Daily Telegraph, Australia, 2003-JUL-30, at:
  2. Kevork Djansezian, "ACT moves to legalise same-sex marriage," ABC News, 2013-JUL-29, at:
  3. "Election Ready Reckoner," The Sydney Morning Herald, 2013, at:
  4. "Media Release: Marriage Equality To Be Key Election Issue," Australian Marriage Equality, 2013-AUG-04, at:
  5. Nick Bryant, "The shifting politics of same-sex marriage in Australia," BBC News, 2013-APR-25, at:
  6. "Marriage equality: the facts," The Sydney Morning Herald, 2013-APR-29, at:
  7. Josephine Tovey, "New poll backs same-sex marriage," The Sydney Morning Herald, 2013-FEB-13, at:
  8. Malanda Rout & Matthew Denholm, "Poll shows support of gay marriage at high," The Australian, 2012-AUG-07, at:
  9. "L-NP 54.5% (down 0.5%) ..." Roy Morgan Research, 2012-MAY-27, at:
  10. "Marriage equality and public opinion," Australian Marriage Equality, 2011-JUN. Partial URL:[email protected]‎. This is an accursed PDF file that does not give access to the original URL.
  11. "Same-sex marriage and religion," Galaxy research, 2011-AUG, at: This is a PDF file.
  12. "Our ideals," MercatorNet, at:
  13. Brian Pollard, "The onward march of evil euphemisms," Conjugality blog at MercatorNet, 2013-JUL-31, at:

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Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > SSM menu > Australia > here

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Copyright 2003 - 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2013-JUL
Latest update: 2014-N0V-04
Assembled by: B.A. Robinson

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