Abbott: Why I’ll say no to same-sex marriage

Abbott: Why I’ll say no to same-sex marriage, by Tony Abbott.

[The issue] was definitely rending the Liberal Party in mid-2015 between those sure that the institution at the heart of our society must not be redefined to suit a politically correct minority, and those worried that our stance was unfair and standing in the way of history. …

It’s a pity that the advocates of change haven’t finalised what they think are fair protections for freedom of religion and freedom of speech in an era of same-sex marriage because it’s hard to be sure about something without knowing exactly what it may entail.

Another disappointment is the tone of so much of the same-sex marriage advocacy. If polls are right, most support change so the plebiscite should be a way of reassuring people that it won’t strain the social fabric. Instead, the activists have insisted that the general public can’t be trusted to have a sensible debate and make a considered decision. …

It is not homophobic to maintain that, ideally, children should have both a mother and a father. Yet I fear much moral bullying in the weeks to come — invariably from those demanding change.

For me, voting no will not be a criticism of gay friends and family members; it won’t be an assertion that there’s only one right way to live your life or to express your love. Rather, it will be an affirmation that the things that matter should not lightly be changed and that marriage is different from other relationships.

Ask yourself what is the most decent and respectful thing to do: is it to endorse this change that the gay lobby is stridently insisting on or is it to question whether a few years’ agitation should unmake a concept of marriage that has stood for many centuries and has always been regarded as the rock on which society is built?

Ask yourself what’s more likely to maintain respect for marriage and to reinforce the notions of constancy and selflessness that sustain all lasting relationships: an ongoing recognition that marriage is a union of one man with one woman, preferably for life and usually dedicated to children; or changing marriage so that it can mean any two people who love each other? …

Of course, there has always been an honour in marriage beyond that of other relationships. By all means, let’s find means to solemnise same-sex commitments and impose on them the demanding mutual obligations that spouses undertake; but I doubt that’s what most activists have in mind. To them, I suspect, it’s about status rather than responsibilities.