This week, while the opponents of marriage equality filled our airwaves with dishonest attacks on Australian families, the faith community stood up for our national values of fairness and equality.
Religious leaders across the country super-charged our campaign to win hearts and minds and ensure everyone gets ready to vote for all their friends, family, and fellow parishioners to have the freedom to marry the person they love in the country we all cherish.
The launch of Australian Christians for Marriage Equality earlier this week highlighted polling that showed a majority of Catholics, Christians and people from other religions support marriage equality.
The research showed 66 percent of Catholic Australians intend to vote 'yes' in the postal plebiscite, 67 percent of Australians from non-Christian religions and 59 percent of Australians from a diverse group of Christian churches including Uniting, Anglican and Church of England.
This research is very much in line with the message that marriage equality advocates are hearing from a wide range of people of faith.
Recently, more than 500 religious leaders sent an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Government, stating their support for marriage equality as a matter of social justice. The statement said:
"As people of faith, we understand that marriage is based on the values of love and commitment and we support civil marriage equality, not despite, but because of our faith."
The Reverend Doctor Margaret Mayman, Minister of Pitt Street Sydney Uniting Church, explained why a majority of Christians support civil marriage equality in Australia:
"When the law changes, Christian churches will be free to make their theological decisions about whom they will marry, but all couples should be treated equally under civil law. My own congregation is looking forward to the day when we both legally marry, and bless the marriages, of two people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Support for marriage equality has also been voiced from the Australian Council of Hindu Clergy. Pandit Rami Sivan, Hindu Priest from Blacktown, has stated that the Council "gives its unqualified support for equality of all citizens before the Law and supports the right of everyone to live and love in dignity, peace and security". Similar leadership has come from Rabbi Jacqueline Nino, Imam Nur Warsame, and Buddhist monk Bhante Sujato.
As we have travelled across Australia, we have heard stories of strong support from congregations all across the country, including from Sunshine Coast parents, Laura and Darryl, who attended a Caloundra marriage equality town hall. Their Christian faith is a very important part of their lives. Laura told us about the initial shock they felt when their son came out at 19.
Laura told us that "above everything else" she and her husband "have always loved our son and wanted a great relationship with him." She believes that her son being gay has been a great gift given to them by God and has enriched their lives and they are so happy that he recently got married, unfortunately it had to be overseas.
With the looming postal plebiscite, Laura emphasised how important a 'yes' vote would be to her as a Christian mother of a gay son and her entire family. She told us that she and her husband can "see how happy" her son and his husband are. "We want to vote 'yes' because this is their life and we feel very strongly about their happiness."
MORE ON THE BLOG:
Marriage is about love, family and fulfilment of aspirations we all share. It is something that has a positive impact not only on couples but also on their families and friends.
Don't get distracted by the noise coming from those who are saying 'no' to a fair go for all, instead let's celebrate the genuine support and heartfelt love that comes from people of faith on our journey to fairness and equality.Suggest a correction