On Saturday December 7, 2013, the Australian Capital Territory became the first Australian state or territory to enact same sex marriage. The first wedding was held just after midnight, and more wedding ceremonies continued throughout the day.
Predictably, the mainstream news media, including all the commercial networks, the ABC and SBS all reported on what they saw as a historic day. The
Sunday Age nailed its "progressive" colours to the mast yesterday when
it gave the same sex weddings on Saturday in Canberra front page
coverage, complete with wedding photos and the stories of how each
couple met and fell in love, just like what the Murdoch News Corporation tabloids often
do every Sunday for straight couples.
Through the High Court of Australia, the federal government is seeking to overturn these laws. Constitutional law experts are divided over whether or not this will actually happen. Because of the intense lobbying on governments to enact such legislation, the issue will not go away. It seems highly likely that other states and territories will follow in the ACT's footsteps.
Time and time again we hear same sex marriage advocates try to reassure religious groups that no member of the clergy or celebrant will be compelled against their wills to perform a same sex marriage, and that they will be protected from legal action. Marriages performed by clergy will be limited to opposite sex couples, and this will not change, while civil marriages will be available to both opposite and same sex couples. It remains to be seen if same sex marriage advocates will be satisfied with these arrangements, or if this is only a temporary compromise.
Thinking ahead for the next ten years or so, will my future children be taught in sex education classes in schools that they can be whatever sexuality they want, and that any and all expressions of sexuality are normal and acceptable, and that there is not one that is inferior to the other, and that when they grow up and are old enough to get married, they can marry either a man or a woman, and that either choice is to be celebrated and affirmed? What will happen to anyone who disagrees with such an educational agenda? Will they be ostracized or censured by the authorities?
Despite their attempts to placate and reassure those who raise these concerns that nothing will change, they cannot guarantee that not one member of the clergy, church member, Christian organisation, para-church organisation, Christian school or indeed any faith-based organisation will be affected by these laws.
Even if the High Court overturns these laws, the same sex marriage movement is unlikely to be deterred. They are well organized, vocal, and determined, and will not rest until they achieve their aims.