14 November 2017
Outcome of Australia's same-sex marriage plebiscite will not end fight
'Even if we win, we will be need to continue to fight to defend marriage and to protect Australians from the consequences of its redefinition'
The announcement of the result of Australia's postal survey on same-sex marriage on Wednesday is not expected to be the end of the matter.
Campaigners on both sides of the debate say they will continue to be active regardless of the result as parliamentary manoeuvrings accelerated in the days leading up to the 15 November announcement from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which conducted the survey at the direction of the Federal Government.
The Coalition for Marriage, of which the Archdiocese of Sydney and its Anglican counterpart were leading partners in prosecuting the "No" case, declared it was committed to defending parents’ rights, freedom of speech and freedom of faith regardless of the result.
Coalition spokesman Mr Lyle Shelton said: "If, as we hope, our campaign is successful and the majority of those who responded voted ‘no,’ we know the ‘yes’ campaign will not accept the result. They’ve already said numerous times that they will continue to push to redefine marriage.
"So, even if we win, we will be need to continue to fight to defend marriage and to protect Australians from the consequences of its redefinition.
"If a ‘yes’ vote prevails, we will also need to get straight back to work... If a ‘yes’ vote is returned, we will do what we can to guard against restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to defend parents’ rights, and to protect Australian kids from being exposed to radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education in the classrooms."
Mr Alex Greenwich, from the Equality Campaign, said that after being put through this process, "Australians won't stomach politicians playing with the lives of their gay and lesbian friends and family members any longer".
Fr Frank Brennan, CEO of Catholic Social Services, wrote on the Jesuit-operated Eureka Street website on 9 November that wrote that with the return rate of the survey "a very credible 78.5 per cent" (compared with Ireland, where 60.5 per cent of eligible voters turned out to vote for same-sex marriage), the Australian vote in favour of Parliament legislating for same-sex marriage was likely to be even higher than the 62 per cent of Irish voters who in 2015 supported a change to the Irish Constitution recognising same-sex marriage.
"After Wednesday's announcement, let's hope we hear from some of our Catholic bishops repeating the sentiments of Archbishop Dermot Martin after the 2015 Irish vote: 'The Church needs a reality check right across the board, to look at the things we are doing well and look at the areas where we need to say, ‘Have we drifted away completely from young people?'
"Wednesday will be a day of celebration for those wanting a 'Yes' vote," Fr Brennan wrote. "It should also be a day when we Australians recommit ourselves to respect for all citizens, especially those whose beliefs differ significantly from our own. Our politicians led us into this divisive campaign. Now they need to lead us out of it with considered and timely legislation and a commitment to better protection of human rights for all."
PICTURE: A marriage equality rally outside of the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne on Sunday, 1 October, 2017
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