Same Sex Marriage - Letter from Archbishop Doyle

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Home > Media > News > Same Sex Marriage - Letter from Archbishop Doyle
Same Sex Marriage - Letter from Archbishop Doyle

Dear Members of the Tasmanian Catholic Community,

As Tasmanians, we live in a democracy which rightly places great value on human rights and protecting others from unjust discrimination.

As Catholics, we also believe deeply that God loves human beings very much. He especially loves those who are wounded and suffering. God loves each of us so much despite the fact that we are all sinners, make mistakes and often do not live up to our responsibilities.

In order to be credible witnesses to others, we must take seriously the call to live according to the Gospel. Deeply aware of Christ’s mission of compassion and justice, the Church cannot ignore the responsibility to speak the truth in love. Reminding people on occasions about the truth of the human person is one such task for all of us. Some now seek to alter the very nature of the human person through legislation, and Tasmanian society is now at a critical turning point where truth is at stake.

We speak of current debates about the nature of marriage in our public life. Often it seems as if this matter is simply about human rights and the removal of discrimination.

However, in addition to ‘human rights’ there are also ‘human responsibilities’. We are all blessed by God with the gift of our sexuality. The design itself comes from the Creator of Life and we all have a responsibility to follow that design.

The Church firmly believes that marriage is founded on the wonderful fact of sexual difference and its potential for new life. Without this there would be no human beings and no future. Bringing new human life into the world is founded on the loving union of male and female. Children are best nurtured by a mother and father.

Opposing this legislation in no way implies that the Church accepts discrimination against the human rights of another. Nor does it mean the Church fails to understand the complex nature of human sexual identity and desire.

It implies no lack of respect for people who identify as “gay” and “lesbian.” Many in our community have friends or family members who are gay and lesbian, who are people we know and love, and are part of our family and friendship groups.

However my concern is for the future of our whole society and I ask you to reflect seriously and to pray about the ramifications for current and future generations, of legislation which completely redefines marriage.

A grave mistake will be made if such legislation is enacted in Tasmania. The State Government, and indeed even the Federal Government, cannot redefine the natural institution of marriage, a union between a man and a woman. The Government can regulate marriage, but this natural institution existed long before there were any governments and cannot be changed at will.

The argument that same sex marriage supports marriage is wrong. Through the proposed legislation, the natural institution will not only be changed, but it will be re-defined absolutely. It will become something different. Such a re-definition will undermine rather than support marriage.

Tasmanian Catholics, as responsible citizens of this State, have a duty to remind their political representatives in the Legislative Council that much is at stake for the common good in this debate.

I urge you to exercise that right and make direct representation to your local Legislative Council member in a respectful manner preferably through a hand-written letter and signing the online E-petition sponsored by Vanessa Goodwin. This E-petition can be located on the Legislative Council web-page at (click here)

In the weeks and months ahead, there are many other challenges facing the Christian community in Tasmania, including legislation changes in relation to the sex industry, euthanasia and possibly late-term abortions.

It remains my strongest concern that the Government has devoted time and scarce resources into developing these draft legislations when the focus should strongly be on moving this state forward. I personally wonder about the priorities of Government as enacting these types of legislation tears at the social cohesion of our society, turning life into simply a commodity. Sadly it appears that the Government has no intention of listening to the Christian churches as it pursues this path of misguided social justice.

Therefore I ask that you keep the Premier of this State and the Government in your prayers, asking that their minds be refocused on working to bring this State back to prosperity while focusing on the marginalised, disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Yours sincerely in Christ
Archbishop of Hobart


Photo: Alastair Bett Photography