ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said the letter signed by 20 church leaders supporting same-sex marriage was not representative of the broad commitment churches and Christians had to see marriage continue to be upheld in law as between a man and a woman.
“Last year we had 54 major church leaders endorse a document on the importance of marriage as a legal institution between a man and a woman,” he said.
“These church leaders came from Anglican, Catholic, Christian Reformed Churches of Australia, Lutheran, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Uniting Church denominations,” he said.
Mr Wallace noted that the church leaders who supported same-sex marriage, while entitled to their own opinions, represent a fringe opinion in the church.
“In the lead up to the ALP National Conference last year we had over 120,000 people – predominately Christians – sign a petition to see marriage continue to be defined as it is between a man and a woman,” he said.
“In addition, we had a statement from 22 of Australia’s senior church and denominational leaders calling on the government to protect the definition of marriage in law and not change the meaning of marriage by adding to it different kinds of relationships,” he said.
Mr Wallace said the church leaders who supported marriage between a man and a woman noted the law has adapted in many ways to accommodate relationships other than marriage including making provisions for persons in de facto and same-sex relationships to have access to the same services that are available to married couples.
“But the leaders note that marriage remains different and the legal recognition of marriage is needed for the purpose of securing that relationship and children’s relationship within the family unit to both a mother and a father,” he said.
“Children have a right to the complementary experiences of mothering and fathering as far as possible,” he said.