The (Australian) Greek Orthodox Archdiocese were delighted to hear the decision by Australian MPs.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese were delighted to hear the decision by Australian MPs to vote no to a bill in the Senate for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia. The church – who are opposed to same-sex marriage as they say it “will erode the sacredness of marriage and the family” – went as far as setting up a website to allow the community to lobby their local parliamentarian.
The church, under the name Speak up for Marriage Group, created a website (http://marriage.greekorthodox.org.au/get-involved/) that gave members of the Greek Orthodox community an online letter that would be automatically sent to their local MP or Senator opposing same-sex marriage and imploring they do the same.
On the website the church stated: “As you would be aware, a number of bills have been introduced into Parliament lately to undo the Marriage Act and legalise homosexual [sic] marriage. And a number of states and territories are doing similar activities. Thus the need of the hour is to stand strong for marriage. Federal Parliament is debating this right now and getting ready to vote on this issue. Thus all the lobbying already done must be repeated. Several politicians have already expressed how critical our support has been.
In addition to this we also urge you to email them direct with your personal message expressing your support for the traditional definition of marriage. Now is the time to show our strength and unification as Orthodox Christians. Send this email to as many people as possible and place it on your Facebook pages. Do not hesitate to speak up.
Of course, as Orthodox Christians our duty is to intensify our prayers to our All-Merciful Lord during this period. Greek Australian MPs Maria Vamvakinou and Sophie Mirabella voted no to the legalisation of same-sex marriage whereas Labor MP Steve Georganas voted yes to the bill in the House of Representatives. When the bill went to the Senate, Greek Australian Senator Nick Xenophon voted for the bill.
The bill, introduced by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones, was defeated in the house of representatives and in the Australian Senate this week with gay rights activists said they would now look to state and territory parliaments to make the change. The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who voted no on the bill, allowed all Labor MPs a conscience vote on the day, whereas the Liberal MPs all voted no.
On the day the same-sex bill was being debated, Liberal parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi resigned from the party after suggesting the legalisation of gay marriage could lead to bestiality and polygamy. In announcing Senator Bernardi’s resignation, Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said his contribution to the same-sex marriage debate was unwelcome.
Openly gay Labor senator Penny Wong, described the result as disappointing and a failure of the Parliament to remove discrimination. “Despite the results in both the House of Representatives and the Senate this week, I believe we have achieved a great deal,” she said. “To the many supporters of marriage equality, I encourage you to continue to campaign for marriage equality in each state and federally.”