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Archbishop qualifies support for same-sex benefits

Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson is calling on the South Australian Government to amend proposed laws awarding same-sex couples equal legal rights to opposite-sex de facto partners.

In yesterday's Advertiser newspaper - and CathNews - it was reported that Archbishop Wilson had given his support to the Bill. Subsequently the Archdiocese issued a statement indicating that the Archbishop's support is conditional on certain amendments he proposes.

Appearing before the joint State Parliamentary Social Development Committee on Wednesday, Archbishop Wilson said he could not support the Statutes Amendment (Relationships) Bill in it's current form because it undermined the importance of marriage.

"As currently drafted, the Bill would group all relationships under the same ambiguous and inappropriate generic term 'domestic partner'. This is unacceptable."

"We are particularly concerned with the effect of the Bill on the integrity of marriage," said Archbishop Wilson.

But in yesterday's statement, he reiterated his fundamental support for the "intention" of the Bill, which he said is "to remove unjust discrimination against same-sex couples - while preserving the importance of marriage".

"Marriage is a special relationship which has been a fundamental ingredient in the development of our society," he said. "It has, and should retain, its special place in our society."

Archbishop Wilson said that while marriage is a "a unique type of relationship", the Church "recognise[s] the fact that there are people in society who live in other kinds of relationships. The difficulty that we find in a modern society is that we are living in a time of change."

Relationships bill needs change: Archbishop Wilson (Archdiocese of Adelaide 17/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Adelaide
Statutes Amendment (Relationships) Bill 2004 (Parliament of South Australia)

Adelaide Archbishop backs equal rights for gay couples (CathNews 17/3/05)

Australian archbishop backs same-sex benefits (Catholic World News 17/3/05)

18 Mar 2005