Marriage must be defended

By Bob Harrison
Updated November 5 2012 - 12:24pm, first published November 23 2010 - 7:50pm

The Member for Throsby Stephen Jones, in supporting legislative recognition of same-sex marriages ("All deserve the right to marry," Mercury, November 17), stated inter alia "I come to Federal Parliament as a representative of my party and my electorate. I will advocate for change ...". Although he is entitled to his own opinion, his energy as a politician would be better spent addressing such matters as bank interest rates, escalating electricity charges or proposed carbon taxes that would threaten the very future of the Port Kembla steelworks and the flow-on effects it would have on the Illawarra region, rather than pursuing such a peripheral issue.Interestingly though, on November 25 last year I submitted a forum article to the Mercury calling on Stephen, Throsby's head-office installed candidate, to state where he stood on same-sex marriages and other matters. The silence that followed was deafening. He therefore has no mandate from his electorate or party branches to promote same-sex marriages, a subject he was not prepared to even mention prior to his election.Now, safely ensconced in the heady atmosphere of the Australian Parliament, without reference to the branches of the party he claims to represent, Stephen has hit the ground running with a full-on display of support for same-sex marriages.If he or anyone else feels marriage laws in Australia discriminate against homosexual couples wishing to marry, it would follow that they must also believe Australian marriage laws discriminate against sections of the Australian Muslim community who, under Sharia Law, believe they should be allowed to take a number of consenting wives.It would also follow that they would believe men who are bi-sexual are being discriminated against because they are not allowed to marry two consenting people (one of each), or people who advocate group marriages (polyamory) ... who claim that they are being discriminated against.Group marriage advocates are posing questions such as "why can't adults be allowed to do what they want as long as it is consensual?" Or "why should governments only be considering same-sex couples marrying without any thought of approval for threesomes, foursomes or any number of consenting adults?"Stephen should get real about what it will lead to if governments start interfering with the simple definition of a marriage as being an agreement freely entered into by one man and one woman. Attempts by social engineers and social activists to redefine marriage will serve to open a Pandora's box.Throughout history, traditional marriage, a fundamental institution of civilised humanity, although not always ideal, has produced good and beneficial outcomes not only for husbands and wives but also for their children and society as a whole.Traditional marriage, in the great majority of cases, provides children with the all-important opportunity of growing up knowing the love and protection of both a mother and a father. Ongoing moves to redefine the institution of marriage and the sacrament of matrimony is fraught with danger and consequences both seen and unforeseen.The Government must fearlessly and without diffidence defend the institution of marriage as involving vows between one man and one woman, while rejecting out of hand illogical and ideologically driven demands of social engineers and politicians who conspire with the Greens for unprincipled preference deals.Bob Harrison is a former mayor of Shellharbour and MP for Kiama.