Last updated: Saturday, 13 July 2013

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Australian Marriage Law 


There has been introduced into our country a strange and divisive debate over marriage. Some have branded as anachronistic, at best, the determination of the Federal Parliament of Australia to uphold the Marriage Act amendment (2004). The problem with this legislation, according to the activists, is its use of the common law definition of marriage: “A union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”. Those in favour of changing our legal definition of marriage commonly defend their cause by reminding conservatives that we have now entered the 21st century, and that Australian law does not reflect contemporary Western "values" regarding equality. Such words mask the danger inherent in any change: the imposition of foreign and perverted concepts of "marriage" on mainstream Australia. If ever achieved in future, the symbolic change desired would assist in further corrupting our society, one which is already increasingly ignorant of the values of our founding fathers.


But the appeal to contemporary values suggests an absurd premise that ever-changing popular opinion (or what is falsely claimed as such) should dictate what is right and what is wrong! Is it really logical to argue that the increasing popularity of criminal behaviour, outlawed since ancient times as harmful and perverted, dictates that the laws of the land should follow suit? The argument relies on the assumption of another absurdity: that man is constantly improving by evolution, and that therefore current values are always superior to those held by our forefathers. Yet even if such an idea were correct, it is a fallacy to assume that serious deviation from the biblical rules of marriage is a purely modern phenomenon. The 1997 repeal of the last laws banning sodomite practice in Australia, under pressure from the United Nations “Human Rights Committee”,[1] merely symbolises a return to the lawless ways of the ancient heathen world (see Genesis 19:4-11; Romans 1:26-27).


     They know not, nor will understand;

in darkness they walk on:

All the foundations of the earth

                      out of their course are gone. (Psalm 82:5)


The "contemporary values" philosophy has always been disastrous. Equally devastating to civilisation is the notion that government or church leaders can dictate morals. In reality, the basic principles of the natural world do not change, and neither do those that concern human society. It is easy to be misled into the opposite opinion by the constant technological advances of our age. But such great advances have come about by means of generation upon generation studying the unchanging principles of the creation. Scientific principles are seen in nature, and they do not conflict with moral principles, the vestiges of which are found in the heart of man (Romans 2:14-15). The complete and uncorrupted law of God is found in the Holy Bible.


In an attempt to emancipate themselves from biblical morality, some people cite judicial and ceremonial laws that are clearly no longer required (such as Deuteronomy 25:4). Their argument is overthrown when it is understood that these laws and sacrifices were a shadow of things to come, of the taking away of sins, and making "reconciliation for iniquity" (Daniel 9:24), by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ: "Messiah [shall] be cut off, but not for himself . . . And he shall confirm the covenant with many . . . he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (Daniel 9:26-27, cf. Hebrews 10:1; I Corinthians 9:8-10). But the moral law remains (James 2:8-12), summarised in Ten Commandments that concern love to God and our neighbour (Exodus 20, cf. Matthew 22:37-40).


The Bible is clear that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5,6); "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband" (I Corinthians 7:2); "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord . . . Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Ephesians 5:22, 25). And the seventh commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14), shows us that any attempt to create analogous relationships outside the bounds of this definition is forbidden. "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).


So in the timeless laws of God we see that not only is homosexuality forbidden (Romans 1:24-27), but also all other perversions of marriage. So then, if we are to accept sodomite behaviour, by whose law or by what rationale do we reject other abominations or abuses? It is difficult to believe that the vulnerable, including children, will be protected from any abuse arising from a loosening of morals in this area, especially since some of those agitating for change also promote the killing of unborn babies. The truth is that if we do not care for the moral law we have no genuine love for either God or our neighbour. God has given us a fixed set of principles for all time, and we should take note of them.


O God, do thou raise up thyself,

the earth to judgment call:

For thou, as thine inheritance,

                shalt take the nations all. (Psalm 82:8)


But maybe you cannot agree that your behaviour harms others. "Why then", perhaps you wonder, "should I take note of laws that I hate and of a God who is a stranger to me?" The inspired apostle has the answer: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). It is by faith alone that we receive such a gift: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).


“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:9-11).


S J Tanner, AD 2012



[1]Conversely, the government of Papua New Guinea (Australia’s nearest neighbour and fellow Commonwealth Realm) have thus far defied such international pressure.