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Commentary: Why Australia Lost Marriage

By Bill May

We wonder why people keep making the same arguments over and over to protect marriage, and expect a different result.

On December 7, the Australian parliament voted on what they thought was legalizing “same-sex marriage”, but in reality, something else happened that even today people fail to understand. The vote was in response to a mail-in referendum that asked only one question: Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Sixty-one percent voted in favor, and only 39 percent opposed.

In Australia, as in the United States before, the issue became a referendum on “same-sex marriage” and discrimination. Ironically, there was never any intention of putting “same-sex marriage” into the law. In fact there is no such thing in any law in any country. Instead, the word “marriage” has been redefined to separate it from its reality as the foundation of the family and, in doing so, drive another wedge between culture and religion.

Redefining marriage has been the main objective of those trying to destroy marriage and the family. Redefinition does much more than just permit same-sex couples to marry. It eliminates the only civil institution that unites children with their mother and father, and makes it discriminatory to promote the unique value of men and women marrying before having children, or marrying at all.

What would have been the result if the referendum and the debate in the United States and elsewhere had recognized that the issue was not about “same-sex marriage” but the question, “Do we need a civil institution that is particularly geared to united children with their mother and father?” How would people have responded to the Australian referendum if they understood what was really at issue?

Instead, with marriage redefined in the United States, we are watching as text books and curricula are being changed. Between that and social pressures, our children are forced to agree that diversity in family types, i.e. having more children deprived of their mother and father united in marriage, is a good thing. That’s an obvious lie, as I have said many times.

What is happening in schools, through TV and the popular culture is not just an attack on marriage and family, but on the faith of our children. More and more are leaving the Church because of conflicts with her teaching about sexuality, marriage and family, starting as early as 10 years old, according to a CARA study.

We know current messages used to defend marriage do not work and expose people to conflict, personal attack, and persecution. Adults can avoid such conversations, but our children cannot because they are immersed in an environment of lies and coercion with the threat of social ostracism unless they comply.

The question everyone needs to ask is, “Do we avoid discussing the reality of marriage or use the same old ways of explaining it, or do we learn new ways for the sake of our family and friends? As the future St John Paul II said during a Vatican II intervention, “The question is not whether we already know the truth well, but rather how to enable the world to find the truth and make it its own.”

It is therefore not the culture or anyone specifically to blame and use as a scapegoat for the problems we are facing, but our own willingness to open our minds and seek new ways of witnessing the Gospel about love, marriage and family. That is the mission of the Marriage Reality Movement.

The First Secret for Witnessing the Reality of Marriage

The answers are found in the Gospel, but in places where we would least likely look for them. For starters, we have discovered that marriage can only be known today when presented from the child’s own point of view (cf. Luke 10:21 — “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike”). We must have the humility to become childlike.

We know our mom and dad are irreplaceable to us and our heart desires to be in relationship with and be loved by them. This feeling or hearts desire is an experience of God’s plan for marriage and family; it is stamped in our nature as we “came from the hand of the Creator” (CCC 1603). Whether or not our family was intact, we know that Mom and Dad are also irreplaceable to each other — they belong together.

From the perspective of the child, we can therefore explain to our children that in reality marriage is the free choice of man and woman to make themselves irreplaceable to each other, i.e., become relatives. This expresses the fullness of marriage. Marriage is precisely what prepares Mom and Dad to receive children into the circle of irreplaceability that their marriage has created, i.e. the circle we call the family.

By reinforcing awareness of irreplaceability and its relationship to marriage reality, children become more attuned to the experience of privation in irregular family situations — conditions calling for compassion, not judgment.

At the same time, the awareness of irreplaceability exposes the lies advanced by schools and popular culture that promote the formation of more irregular family situations and more children living in a state of privation as a good thing.