Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton, said the latest ABS updates meant the campaign was still “wide open.” “There is still about one in three people yet to vote,” he said. “It’s definitely not too late for people to have their say. “The fact you’ve got Labor out saying that they are not going to protect freedom of speech at all should be enough to motivate anyone who still has a survey still sitting on their kitchen table. The so-called religious freedom protections in the Dean Smith bill only cover a very narrow group of Australians.” Same sex marriage advocates welcomed the Labor decision to support the Smith bill in its current form and limit the religious protections to accompany same sex marriage.
Just.equal spokesman Rodney Croome said the inclusion of extra protections to preserve religious freedoms represented an attempt to prop-up discrimination against people in the LGBTIQ community. “We would refuse to accept the right to marry under the conditions being proposed by some, more extreme government members,” he said. “Just.equal and Parents Friends of Lesbians and Gays conducted a nationwide survey of the LGBTIQ community earlier this year and there was overwhelming opposition to marriage with these kinds of caveats. Australians do not want the marriage equality debate to become a vehicle for the latest brand of US-style anti-LGBTIQ hate politics. Equal means Equal.” For these reasons we welcome Labor’s decision to draw the line at the religious protections in Senator Smith’s bill.”
The Labor caucus has decided to resist attempts to insert extra protections for religious freedoms in any bill to legalise same sex marriage should the government’s $122 million postal survey return a Yes vote. Labor MPs have resolved to push for the passage of West Australian Liberal MP Dean Smith’s private members’ bill in the event of a Yes vote, saying it already provided adequate protections for religious freedoms. The decision could trigger a fierce new parliamentary battle on the shape of legislation to legalise same sex marriage given the arguments raised during the postal survey warning of the need to guard against political correctness and preserve freedom of conscience. The Smith bill has been attacked by No campaigners for providing only narrow religious protections around the wedding ceremonies of same sex couples as well as service providers who are linked to a religious body.
The Coalition for Marriage has also grounded its campaign against change on the need to introduce broader religious protections to ensure that faith based institutions like schools, adoption agencies and social service providers are not forced to shut down or change their operations. Opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus told MPs he would prepare a briefing on how religious protections were already in place under existing state and federal laws. A spokesman for the Labor caucus said the Opposition would push for the Smith bill to be passed “in its current form” as quickly as possible in a bid to have the issue resolved by the end of the year. “We resolved that it (the Smith bill) would strike an acceptable compromise between achieving marriage equality and protecting religious freedoms,” the spokesman said.
“In the event a Yes vote is returned, Labor will push for the government to pass that bill in its current form as quickly as possible.” Labor determined its position on the postal survey because it was the last full caucus meeting before the results will be reported. The exact wording of the resolution passed by the caucus stated: “In the event a Yes vote is returned on 15 November, Labor will push for the government to pass that bill in its current form as quickly as possible.” Bill Shorten also spoke briefly on the resolution, saying he wanted to make clear the intention of the Labor Party was to honour the outcome of the vote in the event of a Yes vote by advancing the Smith legislation. In relation to Labor’s response to questions on religious freedoms, Mr Dreyfus said he would prepare a briefing on the protections that “already exist under federal and state law.”
CONTINUOUS PRAYER FOR MARRIAGE IN THIS SEASON OF DECISION
“…because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant…So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:14-15). Here God defines the relationship between husband and wife as a COVENANT. God, not man, is the author of the marriage COVENANT and the two becoming ONE as we read about in Genesis 2:24. A covenant is a joining, a binding together, an alliance and in this specific covenant it is clearly defined as between a man and a woman. He also commands us to “guard ourselves in our spirits.”
Wherever we as a church or society have not honoured or have devalued, rejected or watered-down God’s design for marriage as a covenant between a man and woman that was intended to be life…for old age, not just our youth. Wherever we have failed to “guard ourselves in our spirits” and have instead opened doors for the enemy to come in and steal, kill and destroy our marriages. Forgive us, Lord!
* An awakening in our nation through this plebiscite process of the importance and significance of the marriage covenant and how it leads to life and peace when it is entered into and lived within as God intended. As well as an awakening and understanding of the consequences of changing God’s definition of the marriage covenant that will rise up in our nation.
* Blessings on every marriage covenant in our nation. (in Numbers 6:22-27 we see the power of blessing. It puts God’s name on whoever we bless and God declares He will bless them you can even use this particular blessing to declare over marriages). Bless them with endurance, faithfulness, and a genuine desire to remain committed to the marriage covenant they have entered into and to never break faith.
* Husbands and wives to “guard themselves in their spirits”.
As the Church we declare the manifold wisdom of God regarding the marriage covenant to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, “At the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” We declare a demolishing of arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God when it comes to the marriage covenant in our nation via the media and government and every other institution and we command every thought to become obedient to Christ. (Genesis 2:24, 2 Corinthians 10:5)
MURDER SUICIDE REMINDER OF VIOLENCE IN LGBTI COMMUNITY
Editor’s note: This story broke a few months ago but due to the necessity to cover more pressing issues we have not been able to include it in our newsletters. We do not publish it now as a current news item but in view of the important message that it ccntains that requires our prayers.
Queensland coroner Terry Ryan recently published damning observations about domestic violence within the LGBTI community in his findings into the deaths of Marcus Volke and Mayang Prasteyo. In 2014, Volke killed and dismembered transgender sex worker Mayang Prasetyo, and attempted to dispose of her body by cooking her in their Teneriffe apartment in Brisbane. The couple had been arguing loudly 2 nights before. Mr Ryan said the murder was “a domestic violence death” and noted that “the nature and extent of domestic violence suffered by LGBTI members of the community remains largely hidden”. Two police officers went to the apartment when the building managers raised concerns about a pungent odour coming from the unit, blood stains in the carpet and cleaning supplies around the unit. They had also not seen Indonesian-born Prasetyo for the previous few days.
Volke fled the apartment during the police visit, leaving police to discover Prasetyo’s dismembered body in the unit, including her feet in a stockpot on the kitchen floor. Volke died from inflicting multiple stab wounds to his neck when he was in the industrial bin after escaping police. Mr Ryan cited a report that noted there are particular stressors and factors unique to the LGBTI community. The report by the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland, ‘Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence’, made reference to Prasetyo’s death, stating it was “a devastating reminder of the existence and reality of domestic violence for LGBTI people”. The coroner also found no grounds for criticism of the police involved.
On the first day of the inquest, Detectives Bryan Reid and John McWhinney told the court that they would have handled the doorknock with Volke differently and not allow him to re-enter the unit. When police said they would search the premise, Volke said he would first restrain his dogs. He locked the door after re-entering the unit and fled. The coroner found their actions were justified in the circumstances, and “had no evidence available to them to suggest that Mr Volke had committed a serious offence and was about to commit self-harm”. The coroner found that another detective was authorised and justified to pull out his firearm when they detected Marcus Volke hiding in an industrial bin.
FORMER PRIME MINISTERS ENTER VICTORIAN EUTHANASIA DEBATE
Following the passing of legislation to legalise euthanasia by the Victorian lower house by 37 votes to 27, former prime minister Tony Abbott has joined another former prime minister Paul Keating in urging Victorian politicians to oppose the bill in the upper house. Voting in the upper house is expected to be much tighter with already 3 members of parliament indicating they have changed their mind and will now vote against the contentious bill. ‘I want them to block it and, at the very least, I would like them to delay it until after the next election so the public has more time to think about it,’ Mr Abbott said. ‘I think we’ll regard this is a sad milestone in our decline as a decent society. ‘It marks our descent into a country which regards human beings as disposable, and we don’t want anyone ever to be regarded as useless, worthless or disposable. But that’s what this legislation says.’
Before the vote, Mr Keating said politicians were missing the point as they debated for more than 24 hours the legal conditions and situations under which a person may end their own life. Calling it ‘deeply regressive legislation’, Mr Keating said: ‘What this means is that the civic guidance provided by the state, in our second largest state, is voided when it comes to the protection of our most valuable asset,’ Mr Keating said in a statement. ‘To do or to cause to abrogate the core human instinct to survive and live, for the spirit to hang on against physical deprivations, is to turn one’s back on the compulsion built into the hundreds of thousands of years of our evolution.’ The intervention of the two former prime ministers has caused much consternation and re-think on the issue which may see the current attempt to change the law fail.