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Same sex marriage

We are told there are those in favour of same-sex marriage, and then there are the bigots

Same sex marriage

Mon 1 Jun 2015
We are told there are those in favour of same-sex marriage, and then there are the bigots

Written by Michael Jensen. Originally published on ABC The Drum 28/05/15 under the title: I oppose same-sex marriage (and no, I'm not a bigot).

We are told there are those in favour of same-sex marriage, and then there are the bigots. But allow me to make the case for traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The passing of the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage has triggered a round of Australian advocates announcing that it is now "our turn". We lag behind the UK, many European countries, some states in the US, and (perish the thought!) New Zealand, and we ought to get with the programme.

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, in line with the new ALP dogma, has announced that he is introducing a private members bill into Parliament today (01/06/15). He has said:

"It's time for our laws to reflect the values of modern Australia and to include everyone as equals ... It's time for marriage equality.
Whatever our religious views about marriage ... I believe we have to change this law which discriminates against adult couples on the basis of who they love."

How could anyone stand opposed? The terms in which the pro-marriage redefinition case are stated make it sound as inevitable as the dawn, and as unstoppable as the tide. And these same terms make opposing a redefinition of marriage sound primitive and even barbaric. There are those in favour of change, we are told, and then there are the bigots.

But simply saying "it's time" doesn't make an argument. Neither does the need to keep up with the O'Haras, the Smiths, and the Pedersens. Neither does the support of TV stars, comedians, or even Bono. At best, these are arguments from fashion.

It is not even the case that "all the surveys say Australians want it" is a sufficient argument. The surveys say that Australians want capital punishment. Wisely, our politicians don't listen to surveys on that issue (and I agree with them). They should exercise leadership, not follow opinion.

Could it be that if you haven't heard the case opposing a change to the marriage law, it is because the language of those advocating it has been so emotive that the contrary case can't be heard above the noise? Could it really be said that a civil disagreement has taken place? I am not confident that it has.

I would like to make the case for traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman; but to do so with some important qualifications.

One of them is this: if the Marriage Act changes, this is not the end of the world for me. There are greater causes in this world than this. I am more distressed by our inattention to children in detention, or our national greed problem, than by the possibility that the definition of marriage might be changed.

Another is that I stand adamantly against the bullying and vilification of people of minority sexual identities.

Nevertheless, I don't think that the case for change is anywhere near as convincing as its proponents think it is. The case has been made almost entirely in terms of "equality" and its alleged opposite: "discrimination". The argument is that applying the word "marriage" to some relationships and not to others is unequal treatment, and thus discrimination. These are both apparently self-evidently bad.

But it is the duty of the law to judiciously discriminate and to appropriately recognise difference with, at times, unequal treatment of things that are not the same. It isn't automatically wrong to discriminate per se.

In fact, it may be the case that offering supposedly "equal" treatment is incoherent, as it is in this case. It is crucial to notice that the proposed revision of marriage laws involves exactly that: a revision of marriage. In order to offer the status of marriage to couples of the same sex, the very meaning of marriage has to be changed. In which case, what same-sex couples will have will not be the same as what differently sexed couples now have.

It will be called marriage, but it won't be marriage as we know it. It won't be "marriage equality": it will be an entirely new thing.

This is where Bill Shorten again misunderstands what marriage is. As we now understand it, marriage is not merely the expression of a love people have for each other. It is, or is intended as, a life-long union between two people who exemplify the biological duality of the human race, with the openness to welcoming children into the world. Even when children do not arrive, the differentiated twoness of marriage indicates its inherent structure.

Now, I didn't pluck this definition from the sky, nor is it simply a piece of religious teaching. It is the meaning of marriage that emerges from all human cultures as they reflect on and experience what it is to be male and female. It is only in the last 15 years that anyone has seriously thought differently.

I prepare many couples for marriage each year. Most of them already cohabit. When I ask them about marriage, they almost always indicate that it is for them the beginning of a new family unit open to welcoming children.

A child is a tangible expression of our sexed twoness.

To remove the sexual specificity from the notion of marriage makes marriage not a realisation of the bodily difference between male and female that protects and dignifies each, but simply a matter of choice.

This is precisely what many pro-revision advocates themselves argue: that a new definition of marriage would establish marriage as a new thing altogether. As Brandeis University's E.J Graff puts it, a change in marriage law would mean that marriage would "ever after stand for sexual choice, forcutting the link between sex and diapers".

Instead of the particular orientation of marriage towards the bearing and nurture of children, we will have a kind of marriage in which the central reality is my emotional choice. It will be the triumph, in the end, of the will.

The revisionist case has not provided a clear and reasonable definition of marriage beyond saying that if two people want to call their relationship by that name, they should be able to by choice.

Now, having put that opinion forward, I fully recognise that there are many people of intelligence and good will who disagree. I do not expect to convince everyone. What I do hope is that my contribution here will not be derided as bigoted or homophobic out of hand, but that it will be seen as part of a civil discussion.

Rev Dr Michael Jensen is the rector at St Mark's Anglican Church, Darling Point, and is the author of My God, My God: Is It Possible To Believe Anymore

Listen to a recent City Bible Forum talk about Same Sex Marriage by Ian Powell


  • Alt
    Wed, 03/06/2015 - 12:47pm reply

    As far as I am aware, there is no biblical basis for banning gay marriage. The Bible seems mute on this particular issue of whether or not individuals of the same sex should marry. It does, however.. say to KILL them, [Lev20:13] .. but surely even as a pious christian you do not advocate following this particular teaching in your good book.

    Naturally there ARE sterile heterosexual couples that are married without children. There are ALSO wonderful homosexual couples that would like to be married WITH children. Some very good friends of mine, for example.

    You are entitled to your personal opinion, perhaps we can have the opportunity in the near future to tally the combined feelings of our nation with a referendum on the matter. In the meantime, keep up the good work of not following all biblical injunctions and commandments.

    • Alt
      Wed, 10/06/2015 - 3:39pm reply

      I thought homosexual couples were already allowed to adopt children? There are many unmarried couples (straight & gay) that already have kids.

      As for the biblical basis, Paul writes in the New Testament warning new churches against returning to their former sexual immorality (incest, infidelity & homosexuality). New Christians are encouraged to live pure & holy lives that please God.

    • Alt
      Thu, 18/06/2015 - 6:19pm reply

      Actually the Bible is pretty explicit about forbidding homosexuality eg in Romans. That projecting homosexuality behavior as mainstream is a recent phenomenon is a fact. Otherwise wouldn't evolution have prevented their survival ?

    • Alt
      Sat, 15/08/2015 - 2:26am reply

      As far as I am aware, there is no biblical basis for banning gay marriage.

      The only thing I have against Homosexual couples is allowing them to “marry”. The term “marriage” has been taken and it means the union between a man and a women and hopefully children follow.

      I have nothing against homosexual couples just do not call the union a “marriage”; that term is taken.

      • Alt
        Sat, 15/08/2015 - 2:33am reply

        B.T.W. when this new term is created to identify homosexual couples there will need to be new "laws" protecting each others as there are today for married couples. As in property ownership and other legal benefits married couples enjoy today.

        do you agree?

  • Alt
    Tue, 07/07/2015 - 10:02am reply

    Whats wrong with same-sex marriage if a couple is "in love?"
    It may not SEEM like anything is wrong, but in actuality, it's an abomination in the sight of God.

    Proverbs 14:12
    There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

    Jude 1:7
    Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

    Proverbs 16:6
    By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.

    Ezekiel 18:31-32
    Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
    For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    1 Timothy 1:9-10
    Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
    For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

    Luke 5:31-32
    And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
    I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    • Alt
      Thu, 23/07/2015 - 9:21am reply

      Jesus answered, “Haven't you read the scripture that says that in the beginning the Creator made people male and female? And God said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.’ So they are no longer two, but one. No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together.”
      Matthew 19:4-6

      • Alt
        Thu, 13/08/2015 - 10:43am reply

        Listen to a City Bible Forum talk about Same Sex Marriage by Ian Powell recorded at our Legal Forum recently.

      • Alt
        Sat, 15/08/2015 - 7:59am reply

        and then there were three (3)

        & Life goes on.,.,.,..,.,.,.,.,.

  • Alt
    Sun, 26/09/2021 - 11:49am reply

    Great article, The bible is quite clear on same-sex marriages "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." Leviticus 18:22. I can also recommend this article on the topic:

    • Alt
      Thu, 11/08/2022 - 1:14am reply

      The Bible says many things that perhaps we do not follow in modern life. Keeping same-sex marriage illegal implies that gay people, just trying to live their lives and love someone they love is in some way evil and against God. I believe God wants us all to love those around us and allow them the courage to be who they are. It’s important to me that gay marriage should be legal and I trust in God that He would not keep those who love each other from signifying their love before Him

      • Alt
        Thu, 18/08/2022 - 7:06am reply

        Well, do you think that the Bible and thus God follow modern life? So for example if it is "modern" to steal and everyone does it, do you think God would approve? I just think the "modern way" of life that we currently established on our planet is very far from what God intended. God is love and wants to love your next with your full heart. However when it comes to sexual intercourse the Bible and thus God is very clear that this is intended for reproduction and as this is not possible in same sex relationships this way to act is not aligned to Gods will. I am sure that the "modern life" that was established lately did not change Gods view as much as some want to believe that.

        • Alt
          Fri, 19/08/2022 - 3:15pm reply

          I agree that God’s teachings should hold in modern life (apart from a few, such as such hard punishments for not being a virgin at marriage and a few similar things). However, I find it so hard to believe that God would prevent not just same-sex intercourse but same-sex love. Gay people love just like straight people, and making them live as if God does not love them seems cruel and perverse. Same-sex marriage surely is not immoral - and why would God object to it otherwise?

          • Alt
            Sun, 21/08/2022 - 11:46pm reply

            Forgot to press reply, kindly find my answer in the post below

  • Alt
    Sun, 21/08/2022 - 9:15pm reply

    In the end God can just speak for God. However as I see it, same-sex marriage in front of God is immoral as marriage per definition of the Bible and thus according to the word of God, is a union of a male and a female to create one flesh, meaning children. God commanded humans to be fruitful and the sexual power is immense as humans can be created through it that have a soul and thus are part of God. The family is the protective mechanism around it. As I see it, God does not want this great power of sexuality that he gifted all living creatures with, to be misused or perverted for pleasure only - at least that comes across clearly from the Bible as well. God for sure loves everyone just how they are - no matter if straight or gay / lesbian etc. - but when it comes to marriage or sexual intercourse, if someone wants to live a God aligned live straight and gay / lesbian etc. need to take their cross upon them and either follow rules which for straight people are monogamy, not desiring for other persons wife / husband etc. that were given or accept that they do not live a God aligned life and live with the consequences.

    • Alt
      Mon, 22/08/2022 - 3:01am reply

      I agree with you that God loves everyone, but I believe that in His wisdom he would know the pain of being forced to live in marriage with someone you do not love. Besides, most scholars are agreed that many portions of the Bible are likely to have been changed by scribes or later additions. If we do not still stone girls to death for not being virgins then there is no reason that we should rely on the Bible being the only true source of divine message. God is manifest in us all and I believe He shows us the truth through our hearts. We should remember that God does not test those that he loves. God makes doing the right thing easy. He loves all his children and I am convinced He would not deny his children the right to express their love before him.

      • Alt
        Mon, 22/08/2022 - 4:47am reply

        First of all I think it is good that humankind evolved and no one is stoned anymore for any wrongdoings. In the end God is the only judge and who are we to judge anything. In my view, desprite the Bible - I think it makes sense with Sex until after the marriage. I had Sex with my ex-boyfriend without being married and I regretted it after. If an “accident” had happened, I would have had the choice between being tied to him forever through the child or killing my own child through abortion - what a nightmare! Luckily we were cautious enough. With my now husband I waited with Sex and think it was the right choice as anyway - even if the Sex was bad, I still love him more and would be OK with it. What is a good reason not to wait? I see none.
        On the Bible: The original Bible was written in Hebrew. The translation might have changed as the English language evolved over time e.g. J did not exist and was written as I in the past. Similar small corrections were made but the main content is intact - all scholars will have to agree with that - I recommend to read this:
        Further an Italian woman called Maria Valtorta had visions of the life of Jesus and it corresponds 100% with the Bible and describes the places and circumstances of his time in great detail although she was a bedridden woman who could not have known this all. She describes the speeches of Jesus in great detail and the message there is still the same - including about gay intercourse that is discouraged. As said, God wants us to love each other, our next and loves everyone as they are. However when it comes to marriage before him, I think it is clear in all versions of the Bible and all scripture that it is clearly only intended for men and women with the aim to build the foundation for children. If God had another view he would have made sure it is written differently - after all God is omnipotent - what kind of God would it be if he was not.

  • Alt
    Tue, 23/08/2022 - 3:34am reply

    I would firstly dispute the idea that Maria Valtorta would not have known information from the Bible as she had a ‘strong classical education’. There is little reason to rely on her word other than because she said so. Furthermore (and I find this quite amusing with regard to this discussion), many Christians reject the books for multiple reasons, one of the main ones being the implications of homosexual behaviour, particularly in reference to Christ. Here are some excerpts often quoted as heresy:
    “‘Come, I will kiss you thus, to help you forget the burden of My fate as Man. Here, I kiss your lips that will have to repeat My words to the people of Israel and your heart that will have to love as I told you, and there, on your temple, where life will cease.’ … They remain embraced for a long time and James seems to doze off in the joy of God’s kisses that make him forget his suffering.”

    When Valtorta describes the “favorite” Apostle John as having the face of a young girl with the “gaze of a lover,” we can hardly avoid having the impression that they have a homosexual relationship. Here Jesus is kissing John to awaken him:

    “Jesus bends and kisses the cheek of John, who opens his eyes and is dumbfounded at seeing Jesus. He sits up and says, ‘Do you need me? Here I am.’ …

    “John, half naked in his under-tunic, because he used his tunic and mantle as bed covers, clasps Jesus’ neck and lays his head between Jesus’ shoulder and cheek.”

    After John professes his belief and love in Jesus as Son of God, “he smiles and weeps, panting, inflamed by his love, relaxing on Jesus’ chest, as if he were exhausted by his ardor. And Jesus caresses him, burning with love Himself.”

    John begs Jesus not to tell the others of what has passed between them. Jesus replies, “Do not worry, John. No one will be aware of your wedding with the Love. Get dressed, come. We must leave.” (Vol. 2, n. 165, pp. 57-58)

    Therefore, I think there is grounds that even if Valtorta’s report is to be credited, many people have doctrinal problems with it. It cannot be seen to reflect the Bible for other reasons too.

    However, my main point, which I have been trying to get across through all this, is that we should not distance ourselves from our own knowledge of God because of particular scriptures, taken down and then copied by fallible humans. With regard to Biblical accuracy, I suggest you read ‘Misquoting Jesus’. Although it is a heavy read, it is worth it and it surprised me in lots of ways. I believe that God would not bring into conflict the loving of Himself and the loving of another person - something we cannot change. Indeed, I believe that denying that gay people love one another and deserve less than straight people would be bringing into question God’s creation of everyone’s essential nature as good.

    • Alt
      Wed, 31/08/2022 - 7:25am reply

      On gay / lesbians not deserving less than straight people - there is one single truth and reality: gay and lesbians will never be able to have "one flesh" one human made that stems from both of them. That is only possible for a male and a female. God - who is perfect - create the human nature that way and thus I understand God wants a family that is united through marriage and leading with that natural duality - thus a father a mother and their children.

      As stated in one of my previous comments, I understand that God does not want this great power to create one flesh to be misused or wasted - be it from straight or from gay people. That means no sexual intercourse without the purpose of generating new flesh. It does not mean that it disallows spiritual or platonic love. I think God also wants that we care for each other and all human rules and mechanisms e.g. that only the legal spouse is allowed to visit in the hospital under certain circumstances should in my view be reviewed that more loved once and people that care are taken into consideration.

      God is love, accepts everyone as they are and surely gay and lesbians can love spiritually and are great human beings as God created all humans equal. They are not less than as anyone else.

      Three points on Valtorta:
      - there is a long list of reasons why her visions and books are credible - check it out here:
      - The quotes taken from Valtorta are all out of context. Someone could say the Bible says “There is no God” (Psalm 14: 1; 53: 2). However, if you look up the verse and read the whole sentence, you can see that it actually says “The fool speaks in his heart: There is no God” (Psalm 14: 1; 53: 2), quite a different meaning. Quoting just a section makes no sense and leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. If the books of Maria Valtorta are read, it becomes clear that she describes quite flowery, however there is nothing gay or heresy around those conversations quoted. Those are expressions of deep spiritual love of souls among each other, and God is love.
      - Being asked in one of his speeches, Jesus confirms the Bible verses of Leviticus calling those practices including the homosexual intercourse an “inconceivable obsessive union”

      On the ´Misquoting Jesus´ I read a book review ( and am not fully convinced. Although I am also not fully agreeing with the author of that review I understood that the author or 'Misquoting Jesus' is demanding from God that he would miraculously preserve written words else he does not believe in the Bible. I think this is a bit childish and a very earthly view. God is spirit. He made sure that there is a written guideline available for all believers and the Bible is a great guidance. The real truth lies in all of us as God is within us - in our soul, we just need to be good people, keep the commandments, keep our soul and heart pure and humble and listen so that God and the holy spirit can inspire us just as God did to the authors of the Bible.

  • Alt
    Wed, 31/08/2022 - 11:37pm reply

    I respect your right to your beliefs on this matter as you do not deny that gay people should be allowed to express love for one another and have it legally recognised. I do not mind agreeing to disagree as it seems that while we differ on views about how highly the ability to procreate should be valued, we do not have discernable differences regarding the humanity of homosexuality.

    Re the gospel of Maria Valtorta - I was not trying to force an interpretation of those specific passages on you, merely pointing out that many people who trust it’s veracity think it is heretical - not just due to those passages.
    I attach links:

    There are more you can access with a Google search, and I would not presume to take a stance with certainty one way or the other. All I say is that this ‘gospel’ is highly controversial among the Church as a whole.
    Regarding Misquoting Jesus - I think it’s important to understand alternative points of view - a book review is not sufficient grounds for a rebuttal. While I leave it as completely your decision, I would highly recommend it as a competent and coherent piece of research - even if you do not necessarily agree I’m sure it would interest you as a clearly bright and well educated person.
    This is a very interesting debate, and I find your views intriguing and important

  • Alt
    Thu, 08/09/2022 - 5:16am reply

    I find this debate also very interesting. Whatever is referred to with "expressing love" - as said, the Bible is very clear here: "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable."Leviticus 18:22
    The bible passage goes on by highlighting the punishment if those practices are accepted: "Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants." Leviticus 18:24-25
    While 100 years ago our world was probably officially too strict and not authentic, the current "modern life" is the other extreme. There is no tabu and every perversion is allowed - making it presumably worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. The word of God is ignored, spurned, ridiculed. Even priests disregard it and bless same Sex couples. When I hear the news it seems that warning of God seems to come true: catastrophic floods, fishes dying, historic heat waves and resulting crop losses.

    On Valtorta: There are critics on everything ever published - even the Bible as you pointed out yourself. I know those arguments that are written in those links, and I find them very poor, just to point out a few:
    - they seem to be very agitated that Christ is tempted by Satan in different ways. How could Jesus claim to have been human if he did not endure similar situations than humans? I find it very realistic that the temptations were there also for him as with any human just that he as God and role model surely excelled in not giving in to them.
    - In the first link it says "This opposes the doctrine that a man must belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved" i think this doctrine is very man-made. There is nothing written in the Bible about this and does this author honestly think that if a good person does good deeds their full life, loves their next, follows the commandments etc. will not enter heaven just because they do not belong to the catholic church? I find this ridiculous. I am sure that God does not care if someone is a regular person, priest, pope, poor old lady, homosexual or straight. Everyone is equal before him and will be judged based on the quality of the impulses of their soul and if they followed the commandments (which also includes aspects of virtues). Jesus made this very clear during his life on earth as he was focusing more on sinners and outcasts than the priests in the temple - who eventually even killed him, as blinded by their arrogance they were the very last once to realize that he is God.
    - then the threadbare arguments about the index of forbidden books, the non-existent screwdriver etc. are all disproven when you scroll further down in this article:

    On Misquoting Jesus: it is not on top of my list but if I get a chance I am open to read it. First of all I do not understand why the author is so much shocked / pointing out that the Bible was copied and altered over time - as if that would make it less trustworthy? God even wrote and commanded that in the Bible itself - read Jeremiah 36:27-28: "After the king had burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Take another scroll and rewrite on it the very words that were on the original scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah has burned."" and Jeremiah 36:32:
    "Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and at Jeremiah’s dictation he wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them."
    Further, how that author is able to proof what exactly was changed as the original copies of the Bible are not there anymore is beyond me. Also it is well documented that newer copies of the Bible are very trustworthy - in case you have not read yet: "Copies of the Bible dating to the 14th century AD are nearly identical in content to copies from the 3rd century AD. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, scholars were shocked to see how similar they were to other ancient copies of the Old Testament, even though the Dead Sea Scrolls were hundreds of years older than anything previously discovered. Even many hardened skeptics and critics of the Bible admit that the Bible has been transmitted over the centuries far more accurately than any other ancient document." (

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