1. Keep Informed
There is a lot more to the conversation about marriage than posters and slogans, and unfortunately our media can swing this issue in a very biased way. Keep yourself informed!
2. Speak to your local politicians
Don’t be afraid to tell your local MPs what you think about marriage, they are there to support and serve their electorate and need to hear your voices. Here are some steps to help you out:
- Find out the name and contact details of the Federal MP for your local area: http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members
- Write a letter to your MP. Make sure you use his or her formal title (click here for guidelines.)
- Be polite and clear. If you are struggling with what to say, here are some points to consider:
- As a member of your electorate, I am concerned that members of our Federal Government are considering voting to change the Marriage Act.
- The government recognises marriage because it benefits society in a way that no other relationship does… it protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and to take responsibility for their children. No same-sex union can produce a child nor unite a child with a mother and a father.
- Australia has already suffered from the pain of children being taken away from their biological parents in previous generations. Why would we, as a matter of policy, allow another generation to be intentionally created and removed from their biological parents?
- Redefining marriage puts a new principle in the law – that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is. What will stop the definition being changed in the future?
- Same-sex couples can and should still get social benefits – in fact they already do in Australia! They are not discriminated against when it comes to property rights, for tax purposes etc. We don’t need to change the Marriage Act for couples to receive these benefits.
- In the US, Canada and Denmark, religious organisations have been forced to allow same-sex marriages in their churches, despite there being an exemption in place when same-sex marriage was first allowed. Exemptions for religious organisations have not worked overseas, and there is no guarantee that they will work here in Australia.
- Send the letter by post; it is more effective than email. Alternatively, if you are worried that you don’t come across clearly in writing, consider calling the MP’s office – but have your comments prepared and ready before you call.
3. Inform others
People are also going to want to know what you think. You don’t have to jump on Facebook and preach, but if you understand why it is important that marriage remains between a man and a woman, you should not be afraid to speak to others about it. It is very difficult to get the pro-marriage side of this story out in mainstream media. If this information is going to spread, it will spread in good conversations, based on love.
We need to pray. It is crucially important. This battle is as much if not more a spiritual one than a political one. We need to pray for our leaders, that they will make wise decisions based on what is best for all. We need to pray for our families, that we will be witnesses of true married love. And we need to pray for our country.
5. Uphold marriage – always
Outside of prayer, the most important thing we can be doing is defending marriage and family life by the way we live our lives. For those of you who are married, now is the time for your marriages to be a witness to others. For those who are not married, we need to provide great support to our married friends and family. If we believe marriage is about children, then we need to be doing everything we can to support those around us with children. This is all very important now, but it will be even more important if the law changes. It might be the case that we are no longer allowed to teach about marriage in our schools. It might happen that any teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman might be seen as discrimination. If this does happen, the only real way we will be able to help people understand what marriage looks like is to live good and holy marriages ourselves.