Australia's “coalition for marriage

Australia's 'coalition for marriage

Gay marriage: not feasible for the church © dpa

With a new ecumenical “Coalition for Marriage,” Australia's Catholics and Anglicans are promoting a “No” vote in the referendum to introduce same-sex marriage.

The coalition was initiated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney and the organizations “Australian Christian Lobby” and “Marriage Alliance”, it said in a press release on Monday.

In an interview with The Australian, Sydney's Archbishop Anthony Fisher warned that religious freedom and freedom of expression would be curtailed if supporters of “gay marriage” won the referendum. “Will teachers continue to have the freedom to teach church doctrine on marriage, or will they be forced to teach according to a politically correct curriculum?” asked Archbishop Fisher.

Advertising in families, communities and neighborhoods

On the website of the “Coalition for Marriage”, Internet users are asked to recruit supporters in their families, communities and neighborhoods in a snowball system. In doing so, the churches wanted to contribute to a “respectful” debate, said the Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead, according to Australian media reports. People should be able to speak their minds – “without the fear of being labeled a bigot or a homophobe”.

Criticism of the “No” campaign

The ecumenical No campaign, however, has been met with criticism. Bill Crews, a pastor at the Uniting Church, reportedly said the coalition “speaks for only a portion” of Christians.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to let Australians vote on opening marriage by postal ballot. The voting process is scheduled to begin on 12. September and will cost the equivalent of a good 81 million euros. With the referendum by mail, Turnbull wants to avoid a parliamentary vote out of consideration for the conservative wing of his Liberal Party.

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