I wrote to 'Senator' Abetz about the forthcoming push to get the Liberal party room to have a conscience vote about same sex marriage
He (allegedly) replied:
*Dictated by Senator Abetz and sent in his absence
Dear Dr (sic) Clark,
Thank you for your email regarding same-sex marriage.
For my part, I firmly believe that the institution of marriage is one that has been uniquely, over the centuries, the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of others for life. I also believe it is the best environment in which to raise children. This is a bedrock institution of our society that I fully support and I do not support any efforts to make changes to this definition.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me on this matter.
Leader of the Government in the SenateMinister for EmploymentMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public ServiceLiberal Senator for Tasmania
I replied ( this at least allowed me to vent that I am not convinced this is a genuine reply
(Please note that in my original email I informed you that my title was Fr (Father) not Dr….but that your automatic answering system doesn’t allow for my proper title!)
Thanks anyway for your reply. I thank you indeed for bothering to reply( many of your your colleagues don’t bother)…but would respectfully disagree with your assertions that “the institution of marriage is one that has been uniquely, over the centuries, the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of others for life.”
It is clear for example, even from the Hebrew-Christian Biblical narratives ( to which I adhere) that marriage is not so concisely or conveniently defined. As religious people we struggle with this.
The Hebrew Scriptures in particular point to a plurality of practice. The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) for example, appear to have practised polygamy and concubinage. There are numerous stories throughout the Hebrew Scriptures ( the prophet Hosea, the great King David…and so on ) where their marriage ‘practice’ has been anything approaching monogamy.
From sociological perspectives, (my area of academic discipline) it is also quite clear that some cultures have practised polygamy, polyandry, and there are also a number of cultures where people who today we might call ‘transgender’ have been accepted and celebrated.It is simply naïve, arrogant (two curiously Western characteristics don’t you think?) and nonsensical to suggest that the Western pattern of, say, the last 50 years is the one and only definitive pattern by which we can and should live our lives.
I serve (and choose to serve) a community which is pluralistic and loving, who want children to grow up in stable families. There are families with children, where both parents are of the same gender. And some where they are of a different gender.There are men who have committed themselves to each other. And women likewise! There are of course men and women in loving relationships. Almost everyone I know has at least one person in their family who is same-sex-attracted
As a Christian and a priest I want to do everything I possibly can to provide for children to grow up with parents who love them.I want people to live lives in which they don’t feel guilty for just being who they are.
It seems to me that if the State can encourage the parents of children to live in committed relationships…then they should. It is not the gender that is important. It is the commitment, to the relationship. To the family. To the children.I think everyone has this right. To be a committed parent; and to have parents who will commit themselves to their well being. What, on earth, does this have to do with gender?
Didn't really think Abetz's response would be otherwise