Archbishop warns ACT same-sex law undermines marriage

The ACT's plans to legally recognise same-sex civil unions would undermine the unique nature of marriage between a man and a woman, Archbishop Francis Carroll said.

The Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn said yesterday that to allow people outside the ACT to join in civil unions and to apply lesser age requirements than for marriage make the proposed legislation even more provocative.

Unlike Tasmania's registration scheme that registers the existence of a same-sex relationship, a civil union scheme proposed by the ACT will give same-sex couples equal legal rights with married couples.

"Marriage between a man and a woman is one of the foundation stones of our society," the Archibishop said.

"Protecting and nurturing this relationship and the family which forms from it, should be the aim of any government seeking to legislate in the best interests of Mums and Dads, their kids and the community."

Archbishop Carroll said a number of states already had provisions in place to provide legal protection to same sex couples. A registration system gives sufficient safeguards without undermining marriage.

"Same sex unions mimic marriage so closely that the unique place of marriage is obscured and would soon disappear," he said.

But ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope denies that the proposed law is an attack on marriage.

He said the civil union as proposed by the ACT would not impact on the definition of marriage within the Commonwealth Marriage Act which applies throughout the country.

But Archbishop Carroll is not convinced, he said: "to redefine marriage in this Orwellian way, is an unnecessary and harmful intervention from government and will be seen as such by the community at large."

The bill is expected to pass in May but the Federal Government is considering moves to override the proposed laws.

ACT Legislation undermines marriage - Archbishop Carroll (Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn 29/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn

Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill (CathNews 13/1/06)

ACT plans gay marriage law (AAP/news.com.au 28/3/06)
Canberra may step in on same-sex law (The Age 28/3/06)
Canberra is a ridiculous place for gay marriage (Dreadnought 28/3/06)

30 Mar 2006