Monday, 20 May 2013

Church and State are able to have different positions on same sex marriage.


I have come to the conclusion that church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage. I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage. I also believe that this change should legally exempt religious institutions from any requirement to change their historic position and practice that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. For me, this change in position has come about as a result of a lot of reflection, over a long period of time, including conversations with good people grappling with deep questions of life, sexuality and faith.

One Saturday morning in Canberra, some weeks ago, a former political staffer asked to have a coffee. This bloke, who shall remain nameless, is one of those rare finds among political staffers who combines intelligence, integrity, a prodigious work ethic, and, importantly, an unfailing sense of humour in the various positions he has worked in around Parliament House. Necessary in contemporary politics, otherwise you simply go stark raving mad.

And like myself, this bloke is a bit of a god-botherer (aka Christian). Although a little unlike myself, he is more of a capital G God-Botherer. In fact, he's long been active in his local Pentecostal Church.

Over coffee, and after the mandatory depressing discussion about the state of politics, he tells me that he's gay, he's told his pastor (who he says is pretty cool with it all, although the same cannot be said of the rest of the church leadership team) and he then tells me that one day he'd like to get married to another bloke. And by the way, "had my views on same sex marriage changed?”.

As most folks know, in our family I have long been regarded as the last of the Mohicans on this one. The kids have long thought I'm an unreconstructed dinosaur for not supporting marriage equality legislation. And Thérèse just looks at me with that slightly weary, slightly exasperated, slightly pitying "there, there darling, you'll get over it one day" sort of look, that wives can be particularly good at giving to their antediluvian husbands.

Very few things surprise me in life and politics anymore. But I must confess the Pentecostal staffer guy threw me a bit. And so the re-think began, once again taking me back to first principles. First, given that I profess to be a Christian (albeit not a particularly virtuous one) and given that this belief informs a number of my basic views; and given that I am given a conscience vote on these issues; then what constitutes for me a credible Christian view of same sex marriage, and is such a view amenable to change? Second, irrespective of what that view might be, do such views have a proper place in a secular state, in a secular definition of marriage, or in a country where the census tells us that while 70% of the population profess a religious belief, some 70% of marriages no longer occur in religious institutions, Christian or otherwise.

The Christian tradition since Aquinas is one based on a combination of faith informed by reason. If the latter is diminished, then we are reduced to varying forms of theocratic terrorisms where the stoning of heretics and the burning of witches would still be commonplace. In fact if we were today to adhere to a literalist rendition of the Christian scriptures, the 21st century would be a deeply troubling place, and the list of legitimized social oppressions would be disturbingly long.

Slavery would still be regarded as normal as political constituencies around the world, like the pre-civil war American South, continued to invoke the New Testament injunction that "slaves be obedient to your masters" as their justification. Not to mention the derivative political theologies that provided ready justifications for bans on inter-racial marriage and, in very recent times, the ethical obscenity that was racial segregation and apartheid.

Similarly with the status of women. Supporters of polygamy would be able to justify their position based on biblical precedent. Advocates of equality would also have difficulty with Paul's injunction that "wives should be submissive to their husbands" (As a good Anglican, Thérèse has never been a particularly big rap for Saint Paul on this one). The Bible also teaches us that people should be stoned to death for adultery (which would lead to a veritable boom in the quarrying industry were that still the practice today). The same for homosexuals. And the biblical conditions for divorce are so strict that a woman could be beaten within an inch of her life and still not be allowed to legally separate. 

The point is that nobody in the mainstream Christian Church today would argue any of these propositions. A hundred years ago, that was not necessarily the case. In other words, the definition of Christian ethics is subject to change, based on analysis of the historical context into which the biblical writers were speaking at the time, and separating historical context from timeless moral principles, such as the injunction to “love your neighbour as yourself”.

Against this particular Christian norm, and its secular moral corollary of "do no harm", and, in particular, "do no harm to others, especially the vulnerable", we have seen a range of social reforms over the decades where traditional, literalist biblical teachings have been turned on their head, often with the support of the churches. Including relatively recent legislative actions by Australian legislatures to decriminalize homosexuality. And much more recently, under my Prime Ministership, action to remove all legal discriminations against same sex couples in national statutes including in inheritance, taxation, superannuation, veterans affairs, family law, defence housing, Centrelink, child support, health insurance, citizenship and aged care.

Which brings us back to same sex marriage. I for one have never accepted the argument from some Christians that homosexuality is an abnormality. People do not choose to be gay. The near universal findings of biological and psychological research for most of the post war period is that irrespective of race, religion or culture, a certain proportion of the community is born gay, whether they like it or not. Given this relatively uncontested scientific fact, then the following question that arises is should our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay be fully embraced as full members of our wider society? The answer to that is unequivocally yes, given that the suppression of a person's sexuality inevitably creates far greater social and behavioural abnormalities, as opposed to its free and lawful expression. 

Which brings us to what for some time has been the sole remaining obstacle in my mind on same sex marriage - namely any unforeseen consequences for children who would be brought up by parents in a same sex married relationship, as against those brought up by parents in married or de-facto heterosexual relationships, by single parents, or by adoptive or foster parents, or other legally recognised parent or guardian relationships. The care, nurture and protection of children in loving relationships must be our fundamental concern. And this question cannot be clinically detached from questions of marriage – same sex or opposite sex. The truth is that in modern Australia approximately 43 per cent of marriages end in divorce, 27 per cent of Australian children are raised in one parent, blended or step-family situations, and in 2011-12 nearly 50,000 cases of child abuse were substantiated by the authorities of more than 250,000 notifications registered. In other words, we have a few problems out there.

That does not mean, by some automatic corollary, that children raised in same sex relationships are destined to experience some sort of nirvana by comparison. But scientific surveys offer important indications. One of the most comprehensive surveys of children raised in same sex relationships is the US National Longitudinal Survey conducted since 1986 – 1992 (and still ongoing) on adolescents raised by same sex partners. This survey, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics in 2010, concluded that there were no Child Behaviour Checklist differences for these kids as against the rest of the country. There are a number of other research projects with similar conclusions as well. In fact 30 years of research has seen the Australian Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Paediatrics and the American Psychological Association acknowledge that same sex families do not compromise children’s development.

Furthermore, there is the reality of a growing number of Australian children being raised in same sex relationships. Either as a result of previous opposite-sex relationships, or through existing state and territory laws making assisted reproduction, surrogacy, adoption and fostering legally possible for same sex couples or individuals in the majority of Australian states and territories. Furthermore, Commonwealth legislation has already recognised the legal rights of children being brought up in such relationships under the terms of Australian family law. Therefore, the question arises that given the state has already recognised and facilitated children being raised in same sex relationships, why do we not afford such relationships the potential emotional and practical stability offered by the possibility of civil marriage? 

Finally, as someone who was raised for the most important part of his childhood by a single mum, I don’t buy the argument that I was somehow developmentally challenged because I didn’t happen to have a father. The loving nurture of children is a more complex business than that.

So where does this leave us in relation to the recent and prospective debates before the Australian Parliament? Many Christians will disagree with the reasoning I have put forward as the basis for changing my position on the secular state having a broader definition of marriage than the church. I respect their views as those of good and considered conscience. I trust they respect mine as being of the same. In my case, they are the product of extensive reflection on Christian teaching, the scientific data and the emerging reality in our communities where a growing number of same sex couples are now asking for marriage equality in order to give public pledge to their private love and for each other, and to provide the sort of long-term relationship commitment that marriage can provide for the emotional stability important for the proper nurture of children.

Further, under no circumstances should marriage equality legislation place any legal requirement on the church or other religious institutions to conduct same sex marriages. The churches should be explicitly exempt. If we truly believe in a separation of church and state, then the church must be absolutely free to conduct marriage ceremonies between a man and a woman only, given the nature of their current established theological and doctrinal positions on the matter. This should be exclusively a matter for the church, the mosque and the synagogue. It is, however, a different matter for a secular state. The Church must be free to perform marriages for Christian heterosexual couples without any threat of interference from the state. Just as the state should be free to perform marriage services for both heterosexual and same sex couples, and whether these couples are of a religious faith or no religious faith.

These issues properly remain matters of conscience for all members of the Parliament. Labor provides a conscience vote. The Liberals and the Nationals do not. They should. If they don't, then we should consider a national referendum at an appropriate time, and which would also have the added advantage of bringing the Australian community along with us on an important social reform for the nation. And for the guys and girls, like the former staffer who came to see me recently in a state of genuine distress, we may just be able to provide a more dignified and non-discriminatory future for all.

Some will ask why I am saying all this now. For me, this issue has been a difficult personal journey, as I have read much, and talked now with many people, and of late for the first time in a long time I have had the time to do both. I have long resisted going with the growing tide of public opinion just for the sake of it. Those who know me well know that I have tried in good conscience to deal with the ethical fundamentals of the issue and reach an ethical conclusion. My opponents both within and beyond the Labor Party, will read all sorts of political significances into this. That's a matter for them. There is no such thing as perfect timing to go public on issues such as this.

For the record, I will not be taking any leadership role on this issue nationally. My core interest is to be clear-cut about the change in my position locally on this highly controversial issue before the next election, so that my constituents are fully aware of my position when they next visit the ballot box. That, I believe, is the right thing to do.

836 comments:

  1. Now you just have to drag the rest of the party into the light Kev.

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    1. Another ploy for votes, you have failed to see the distinction between acknowledgement civil gay rights and the sacred state of marriage. As a fellow Christian you have been a disappointment.

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    2. Hold up... isn't disappointment the centrepiece of the Christian faith? Disappointing your 'god' then crawling back on your knees, asking for forgiveness?

      It's 2013. The bible was obselete when it was written, and it's obselete now, and so are your prejudiced views on other people's lives, lives in which people like you should have absolutely no say over.

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    3. PS. This is in response to "Anonymous" above my comment, not Kevin Rudd... just for those out there who aren't really 'thinkers'.

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    4. ^^^^ What she said.

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    5. here here and well said Sarah!

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    6. The world offers enough crap. i dont need same sex to add to it. if hetrosexual couples can live together without marrying, why cant gay ppl do the same.

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    7. Because hetrosexuals have the option to marry where as homosexuals are legally blocked? if you cannot see the hypocrisy in your statement please dont even bother replying.

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    8. I think you are a dumb ass. I don't hate the sinner i hate the sin. Just as Jesus did. I know my scripture. And I know what is right from wrong. True Christianity and the Bible is pretty 'Black & White' there is no room for compromise. It's either right or wrong, plain and simple. Any Christian who thinks otherwise is not a true believer of Christ.

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  2. My respect continues to grow for you, Mr. Rudd.

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  3. marriage is between a women and a man.and that's what it be in this country.

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    1. Because people love to deny the basic rights of others for their own personal gains...

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    2. How is it a right to marry a person of the opposite sex? SHouldn't it be a right to marry who you want?

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    3. Hang on, I'll fix that for you: 'Because people love to deny the basic rights of others....' Yep, that's about it.

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    4. You selfish person

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    5. Your grammar totally reflects your intellect!

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    6. 'What it be in this country' should not be determined by the likes of you, who cannot even string a sentence together, let alone tell me how I should live because it may offend you.

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    7. So does that mean i could marry my dog!!

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  4. Thoughtful and comprehensive. I don't personally agree with all you've said, but I'm so appreciative of the reasoned tone you bring to a potentially hysterical topic (and not in a funny way!). Thanks so much.

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  5. Interesting read, thanks for sharing. Shame the rest of the party is yet to come round.

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  6. Gay marriage is wrong, society makes us feel it is right especially with the youth. Stop speaking like a politician and realise that your faith is weakened by this choice you have made!!

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    1. If Christians are so against gays, then they should stop giving birth to them

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    2. Ashley Eggins20 May 2013 21:15

      Faith weakened by personal choice? I have never heard of such a stupid thing... Why is Gay marriage so wrong? Because it isn't 'christian'? Then again, I suppose I'm wasting my breath on such a small-minded person... The Bible was written some 2013+ years ago... We are in the 21st century... It's Time to move this fabulous country of ours into it, not further away from it...

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    3. Please read it again. With an open mind this time.

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    4. sorry...get your facts right about when the bible was written......better not to comment on a book you know nothing about....

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    5. Anonymous, you are in the minority, as 53% of Australian Christians support marriage equality for same-sex couples. Apart from that, 70% of marriages in this country are civil marriages, conducted by civil celebrants, and are outside the influence of religion.

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    6. Dear Anonymous,

      What's worse: commenting on a book you know nothing about, or knowing a lot about a book that is full of absolute bullshit that you live your life by (or at least pretend to, all the while pointing the finger at 'sinners')?

      I'd go with the former. The less we all 'know' about that piece of propaganda, the better. That leaves room for useful information like where you put the can opener.

      I can't wait for this ageing population who believe in a talking snake to die out so we as a foreward, critical thinking society can actually get on with reality and make decisions based on logic and reason.

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    7. Ashley is right - the old testament (the one with all the gay-hating) was indeed written more than 2013 years ago :)

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    8. ^^^^ BOOM! Turns out Anonymous doesn't know their life manual as well as they thought! This is better than sex out of wedlock!

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    9. To Sarah, while fornication is against the bible, sex and fornication with a person of the same sex is even worse...

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  7. Welcome to the real world! I am Christian in a hetro marriage in a blended family, and have a number of homosexual friends. A woman raising a daughter in a lesbian relationship, a single gay man, and a lesbian couple with child, all in a family of love and respect.. Your right Kev, Love is the most important quality given to a child. and also .. definately church and state should stay seperate.

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    1. Can't agree more with you K Stanton. Love conquers all....

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  8. Funny how the only negative comments so far are by Anonymous.

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    1. Why do you refer to them as "negative" comments, I view them as positive.

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    2. You view the continued denial of basic civil rights to a portion of the Australian people to be positive?

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    3. Dont give me that Obama propaganda of basic human right. Same sex relationships are unatural. Not even animals behave like that. The way I see it, same sex lifestyles is a poison to my basic human right!!

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    4. ^Two words: grow up.

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  9. Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.And you got all of them.

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  10. As always, well said. Your arguments are both valid, and generous - to both sides of the fence.

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  11. Marriage is between a man and a woman, however I support gay marriage. While it might seem discriminatory, I believe we should have marriage and civil marriage, which carries all of the rights, freedoms and laws of marriage, but a civil marriage would simply be a marriage that is not between a man and woman.

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    1. But your proposition still incorporates a discriminatory tone. What's the point of legalizing marriage between same sex couples if there's going to be a difference between the "type of marriage." Doesn't that render the purpose of this whole debate pointless?

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    2. The terminology is meaningless. My wife and I were joined in a civil union, otherwise known as marriage - "marriage" is NOT a religious concept! We don't believe in fairy tale deities and our legal rights shouldn't be dictated by someone else's fantasy - great to see Rudd has come to agree with that and come out of the closet so to speak ;)

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    3. Marriage existed thousands of years before christianity defining it as between a man and a woman. Christianity DOES NOT get to define marriage. Sorry!

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    4. Marriage is a legal right. And since state and church should bevseperate. Then it is discrimatory for it not to be legal. The writings of religion were written ans re-written by men. They are rules and laws meant to guilt followers. True spiritual belief does not require judgementnand my God would be sad to see it. The fact is, that homsexuality wont go away because you are frightened. It wont go away because you are angry. And it certainly wont go away because someone wrote in a book that they dont think its gods way. My priest growing up was gay. He was having an affair with my father. Wouldnt be do much less f..ked up if they could have just openly been who they are. My father was with his life partner (after my mother) for sixteen years. Wheb he died. Way longer than most hetro marriages and its sad they couldnt have married. Wheres your tollerence , understanding and christianness??

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  12. I have only supported Labor party only when you were the leader. And I adore and respect you for such change in position.

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  13. Your thoughts are very similar to mine on this issue. Gay rights don't really affect my life but freedom of choice is important for everyone.

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  14. Thankyou for your clear, concise and logical explanation on your reasons for changing your mind on the topic of Gay Marriage. As a mother of a gay daughter, my respect for you has just grown from great to enormous.

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  15. Thank you, Mr Rudd. Balance, reason, considered views and allowing for appropriate and reasonable differentiation between secular, state-sanctioned marriage, and the churches (who rightly ought to be able to keep their current practice until such time as their views change).

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  16. Thumbs up, I miss you as PM.

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  17. My 2 Australian cents on the issue is this: Marriage should still be as defined by the Church as the spiritual union of a man and woman. 'Civil Union' - which I support, doesn't have to be called 'marriage' and should have the same legal status (from a secular perspective) as marriage within Australia, regardless of the gender/non-gender/sexuality/whatever of the parties involved.

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    1. I used to think like you, but when I heard a woman say she wanted to ask her partner to marry her - not to Civil Union her, it sounded yuck.

      Then I started thinking that if 2 athiests can marry, what does the church have to do with marriage. Also many married folk and the company they keep don't hold marriage sacred - so where is religion in this?

      I also find it wrong that anyone should be thinking of what 2 consenting adults do in their bedroom, because I would be mad as hell if I knew that someone was thinking about what me and my husband did in our bedroom.

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    2. The church has never defined marriage. It existed before the church, and it will exist after. Just like christmas and easter, the merely church co-opted it for their purpose. To now claim that "the church" has some sort of claim over marriage is laughable.

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  18. the only problem i have here Kev is why it took you so long to form such an obvious opinion?
    here i was thinking you were a clever man, yet when it comes to basic rights for a portion of our society you hesitated.

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    1. I think that sometimes, if one has believed strongly that one sector (in this case, the church) is right, it takes time to see and process another sector's reality. Mr Rudd - for you to have seen, believed and processed both sides of the argument and come out the other end with a different viewpoint gives hope to all Australians. Thank you for openly verbalising what some of us have thought but have been unable to articulate...

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    2. I will take a well considered position any day, even one I dont agree with (hello Tony), over one I dont understand (hello PM)

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    3. He got there. He deserves kudos for that. Many haven't.

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  19. An intelligent well worded argument to something that shouldn't be argued about.

    Very Proud to call you a fellow Australian.

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  20. Well said Kevin.

    People can get married by the state regardless of their religious, or lack of, belief. The churches should retain their right to conduct marriage according to their beliefs.

    I think it is really an issue of social justice. Same sex marriage should be legalised.Church and state should remain separate.

    As a heterosexual grandmother, not very good god-botherer, this issue of legalising same sex marriage is a non-issue as it should be their right to choose to marry any agreeable legally consenting adult they want. It is not as if there is any push to make marriage compulsory :)


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  21. It's not a difficult conclusion to come to, but good to hear you've finally deemed people of all backgrounds and upbringings worthy of an equal opinion.

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  22. W are forgetting the most fundamental issue "the children" what about them? When thy go to school and ask the question "who is my family" As a teacher we often has those problms when addressing family, it breaks your heart when you say to a child " have a lovely father/ mother day" As a kid with their honesty they say" I don't know what does it mean to have a Dad/ Mum day" . Public schools in a working area can be very tough for a child to say about their family.
    Often we hav couples who are not really homosexual they just accepted because thy have problms in their life, self steem. We should think honestly about these questions. What future will we have? children with a lot psichology problems

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    1. What about the kids? Studies show kids being raised by a gay couple have no long term impact. Should we take kids off divorced parents too?

      and it's psychology, not psichology.

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    2. You're a teacher? What do you teach? Certainly not English!

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    3. No teacher could spell as bad as you do

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    4. I understand on the internet spelling doesn't really matter but still, a teacher should really be able to spell better than that. I'm concerned for your students.

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    5. That's right when someone makes a strong point attack the person/their spelling not the idea. I absolutely agree that the children are the fundamental issue they have the right to know and be raised by their biological parents. See my comment below at 21.58.

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    6. I'm not quite sure you read the whole article seeing as this exact point was addressed. You know... the part where Rudd mentions all the studies and research and sources that have gone into finding that there are no "psichology" problems in children who grow up with same sex parents.

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    7. Several peer reviewed academic studies (as mentioned in Mr. Rudd's statement) argue the contrary- that there is no psychological harm caused by same sex parents.
      you know what DOES cause long term damage? Homes with domestic violence, substance abuse, any one parent abusing a child etc. Not a loving home created by a loving couple of any gender.

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    8. Your English is dreadful! What about the poor students who are trying to learn from you?! I'm sure you have other talents as a teacher but your use of English not the best. I am a teacher and I recognise that it is my job to educate all of my students that there are many kinds of families and that all families are important and loving.

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    9. I work in the Community Services sector, specifically with Youth and I absolutely disagree with this. Stating that children children will be "psychologically" damaged due to being brought up by Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans parents is not only proven to be incorrect in the above passage (did you even read the whole thing?) but shows you are ill informed about the world around you.
      I see kids every day that have psychological issues from heterosexual parents, kids that live out of home due to breakdown of the family unit and kids that would do anything for a loving, stable family to care for them- irrelevant of sexual preference. You cannot generalise that these kids will be the ones who will have psychological issues and problems on "mothers day" when there are plenty of heterosexual parents who are completely incapable of looking after their children (causing psychological problems) or are not around for their kids at all however I don't hear you judging them!

      I find it ironic that Anonymous says that children have the right to know and be raised by their biological parents, would you also say this about a child of a Christian hetero couple who for fertility reasons have had to use either a sperm or egg donor? Or kids who are fostered by hetero families or adopted? I highly doubt it.

      Both of you need a reality check and to do more research on the entire situation.. or at least read the entire article!

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    10. So we should persist with a broken system because change can be painful?

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    11. Hey, guess what, I came from a hetero-normal family, and I still didn't know what 'Mother's Day' was at primary school, because my parents were not into commercialism - do you pity me too? Actually I think I was pretty lucky - at least my teachers could spell!

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  23. Well Kevin if New Zealand can do it so easily, why can't Australia. And they haven't been hit be some big tsunami in divine retribution yet.
    Also churches should be able to perform same sex ceremonies, if they want to do it.

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  24. Kevin, I am so glad you have "come out". We each chose our own path in life, and are entitled to our own beliefs, whether they point one way or another. In my eyes, your recent change of heart fits with my views, and i am a hetrosexual male, with a family and a child, but also friends that are gay and through that have an inkling for the way they see life and the equality they would like to share with the rest of us. Thank-you for sharing your emotional journey with us, the sentiment of which is very much appreciated.

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    1. Thank you Dale for being such an open minded hetrosexual male on this issue. It means so much to gay couples to share the committment of marriage like others get to share.

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  25. Unfortunately its not really marriage though is it.

    And I would NEVER vote for anything that prevented a kid from growing up with their real mum and dad. Never. Its not right.

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    1. So what do you say about kids who have being adopted? The most important thing for a kid is to have loving parents.

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    2. In general the alternative to same sex parenting is not opposite sex parenting. For adopted children it is a childhood without any parents. For sperm/egg donor-conceived children the alternative is no life at all.

      Therefore even if it was true that same sex parenting is inferior to opposite sex parenting, that would still not be a sufficient reason to oppose same sex parenting.
      If you define what's "right" as being what is in the interests of the child, it is not right to oppose same sex parenting because the alternative is worse.

      Given that same sex couples can already raise children outside of wedlock, any discussion of the unproven inferiority of same sex parenting is irrelevant anyway.

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    3. So how do you deal with fostered kids? Adopted kids? Kids from single parent families? Kids who've had one parent die?

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    4. What about kids abused by parents? Kids with drug addicted parents?

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  26. Hi Kevin, you recently answered some questions about me and the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in the Australian, that mouthpiece of the Liberals. It's great you are willing to stand up for equality for all couples regardless of sexuality. It's also really great to hear you describe segregation as an "ethical obscenity". When will you be willing to stand up for equality for all residents of Israel and Palestine regardless of religion, and support a boycott of Israel until they respect UN resolutions demanding equal rights for all citizens of Israel itself whether Jewish or not, the right of return for refugees, and an end to the apartheid wall?

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    1. Peter Lane-Collett20 May 2013 22:45

      While I have little respect for Israel as a country because of the way it invades and steals territories and displaces the populations of those territiroes, this article was not about that. You should comment about this article. Good on ya Kevin. Aren't we lucky to live in a country where someone is allowed an opinion and a right to change that opinion?

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    2. Peter Lane-Collett20 May 2013 22:48

      Sorry "territiroes" should be "territories". Needs an edit function.

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    3. Perhaps when we stop seeing headlines like these...
      Oh wait. That's not going to happen seeing as Israel is the only oasis that respects homosexuality, do you not agree?

      'Same-sex acts are illegal in most Arab countries, and even in those where they are not other laws can be used -- such as the law against "habitual debauchery" in Egypt. With a few exceptions, though, the authorities do not actively seek out people to prosecute. The cases that come to court often do so by accident or for unrelated reasons. This is mainly a result of denial: large numbers of prosecutions are to be avoided since that would cast doubt on the common official line that "we don't have gay people here."'

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  27. I respect your opinion and that of all who are of the same and as I tell my friends and relatives whom I love and respect dearly, their sexuality is not my business it is theirs and theirs alone. I do not advocate same sex marriage on the basis of anything other that Marriage is not just a term or label but rather a 'union' between a man and woman and just because I may want to change that for their benefit I cannot change that which I did not create. The same way calling my toothbrush a car doesn't change what it is and hence I cannot hop into it and drive it to work. It's hard to get people to understand this without them becoming defensive and not objective. I fully support equal rights within their relationships however they are deemed to be but there needs to be a correct framework for this to be obtained not the manipulation of what is not to become what we want it to be.

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    1. ^ Thumbs Up!

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    2. Spot on

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    3. We call it marriage today, however marriage - for political or tribal reasons, trade, etc - has existed for much longer than Christianity. Just like toothbrushes have been around longer than cars!

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    4. Totally agree

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  28. Marriage is between two people in love. I am not Gay, I am engaged to an incredible woman. But I respect the individuals right to fall in love with whatever gender they like.

    Lets step out from behind the cloud of ignorance and fear, love, compassion and trust are more important.

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    1. Edit... There was supposed to be a full stop after fear. It should read....

      Lets step out from behind the cloud of ignorance and fear. Love, compassion and trust are more important.

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    2. That's where you have it wrong. If marriage was just about the love between two people, it wouldn't make it any different between a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. What makes marriage different is commitment. Commitment that you'll spend the rest of your life with that person even if you fall in or out of love. Ever since divorce has become legalised, people have just considered marriage to be joke. This is a shame because marriage is more than just "I love you so much and I will love you forever". It is "I love you so much, I will devote my life to you and we will become one".

      Delete
  29. Seems more like an off the cuff conscience Mr Rudd? similar to other Labour policies. Marriage is between men and women, the social tinkering needs to stop along with the needless pandering to lobbies.

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    Replies
    1. Marriage has been happening long before the bible. Why do you have to push your beliefs onto others. What you believe should stay what you beleive. Everyone has the right to indifference, dont force everyone to do and be the same. I dont see why people need to be judged on what they do in their private life. I dont watch you in bed. I dont care what you do in bed nor should you care what others do in theirs

      Delete
    2. learn how to spell Labor!

      Delete
  30. It is such a shame that the LNP does not have a cconscience vote as does the ALP.Perhaps then more on the opposition benches would have need to examine their possition and we could have a true vote in Parliament

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  31. Congratulations on catching up to the majority of Australians Kevin. Personally I reckon the 2006 Human Rights Commission report probably gave you all the information you needed to bring in marriage equality the last time the ALP had the numbers to lead from the front, but you just weren't open enough to it at the time.

    Your story is a very common one - that your mind was changed by the trust of another human being. Spread the word ... it's not rocket science, it's called empathy.

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  32. Thank you very much, Mr Rudd. Great to hear it from you.

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  33. Thank you, Kevin, from the bottom of my heart. As a gay girl living in Brisbane, it hits hard every time I see a high profile politican not even entertain the thought of not allowing me to marry. Keep fighting, as will I.

    Sarah, Woolloongabba.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The fall of the Roman Empire was a result of "the effeminacy of a few in Carthage, a paradise for homosexuals, who infected the many.
    Australia next..?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. Each one of them deceived by the great deceiver.

      Delete
    2. another brave anonymous post espousing nonsense.
      A much better case can be made that the Empire fell because traditional pagan Roman values had been corrupted & supplanted by Christianity! (I don’t really believe that but it's a good fact based argument whereas your statement is not)

      Delete
    3. You've got to be kidding. That's the most ridiculous thing I've read this century.

      Delete
    4. No, the Roman Empire fell due to a combination of massive migrations of various barbarian tribes, economic mismanagement lasting over a century, plagues, famines, invasions... oh, and the adoption of a rigidly moralistic monotheist religion that obliterated all traces of the old Roman pragmatism.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. Historical research blaming gays - 0
      Historical research blaming Christianity - quite a wide collection of historians (personally don't agree but still there you are)
      Bigots never let annoying things like facts get in the way of blaming gays for all histories wrongs!
      http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/romefallarticles/a/fallofrome_2.htm

      Delete
  35. Welcome to the right side of history, Mr Rudd! May others follow your example.

    Allowing gay, lesbian or trans people to get married means those people get married. Two consenting adults. Married. By law. And that's it. The end. It does NOT negate or question or overrule an existing heterosexual marriage and to think it would says more about you than the voices that speak up for equality. Furthermore it does not "open the floodgates for people to marry animals or objects" or whatever the claptrap is about the topsy-turvy world you think we'll inherit.


    I'm so sorry you might have to (to paraphrase Louis CK) take five minutes out of your day to explain to your child that some people have two mummies, or two daddies, but that group walking by is still a family unit just like any other and a loving one at that.


    When there is so much hate in the world, why would you stand in the way of love?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Church and state Already have different opinions on marriage Now. In fact even the churches DONT agree on marriage. Some churches allow divorce. Others dont. Some will marry Divorcees. Some wont. Although many people are Glossing OVER this point - the legal definition of marriage - (as defined by the state) and the church definition - has been in flux for some time - NOT only in Australia - but back to the Protestant reformation - where it was questioned whether marriage was even a sacrement at all (and where different writers had different opinions on the matter I might add). Marriage is something THAT has changed dramatically both in the bible (from Abraham having many wives, Solomon having wives AND concubines and Paul telling us CHRISTIANs should just marry 1 man and 1 wife) through to the marriages being arranged for political and economic reasons, the demise of Dowries and so on. Some of these changes have been legal / political and some have been religious. One thing is certain. Marriage has been changed MANY times before and will no doubt change many times again. Perhaps when all the churches unhesitatingly accept the current definition of marriage and divorce by the state - they could weigh in on the debate - but as they dont know - I think they dont really have a good reason to comment on the current debate. They DONT (all) respect current legal marriage NOT.

    ReplyDelete
  37. About time, man.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Lost My Vote Burn In Hell Like God Did To
    All The Sick Satanic People In Sodom And Gomorah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are a sad little sausage.

      Delete
    2. Gomorrah*

      Delete
    3. I don't think K Rudd really needs your vote anyway...

      Delete
    4. Aye,
      Satan doesn't come along like a monster but conniving, fooling many people by his trickery. Many people here are deluding themselves by how clever and 'enlightened' they think they are. Caught up in the snowball of the times ... which is of COURSE appears so reasonable.

      Delete
    5. Yes and I suppose you feel that AIDS was put here to wipe out the homosexual as well. I love the barbaric approach to homosexuality. Barbaric that anyone would feel that we would choose the lifestyle that we live. Barbaric that we are nothing but a bunch of child abusers. Barbaric that you constantly refer to the Bible and yet I bet each and every single one of you eat pork, prawns, tell a white lie here or there. Hypocrites every single one of you. If you are going to use the Bible as a reason against homosexuality...tell me this...Where does CHRIST preach against the homosexual? Ya know what he doesn't.

      Delete
  39. So you believe in a God that according to your belief made everything. Disease,war,torture,famine,flood,cruelty,starvation,slavery,
    genocide.You should tell the next kid with cancer you visit God made you ,God made everything including that disease killing you and millions more.Or maybe say to the Pope why can't the richest org. in the world give out,they after all took everything from the colonies with genocide in the name of the cross.I am at least glad you saw sense in the matter of equality in marriage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Think before you write or speak please. "Disease,war,torture,famine,flood,cruelty,starvation,slavery," all occur because of human selfishness over the past 1000+ years - the rejection of God.

      Delete
  40. Big Respect Mr Rudd! Thank you so much for giving this issue so much thought. As a gay male from Southside Brisbane i am often under the impression our local leaders do not care about this issue! Once again thank you so much for understanding love is love.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Paul Bastian20 May 2013 21:34

    Good read Kevin and glad to hear it love that the negative comments here are mostly anonymous I have lots of gay friends and believe they deserve to get married as well. For the record some of them have been more committed and faithful than hetro relationships

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'm applauding this vigorously. Bravo Kev! Now if only the rest of your party were so brave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! I completely agree! This is the kind of strength we need so much more of if we are to regain faith in our politicians.

      Delete
  43. I just wanted to say that reading this has enormously increased my respect for Kevin Rudd. It is an amazing feeling to know that a politician might actually be constantly re-evaluating their position based on conversations with others and be willing to admit when their position ought to change. It shows a lot of courage and I think it should be celebrated.

    Thank you very much for listening to the Australian people and placing reason above your own theoretical position!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Congratulations. Welcome to the '70s.

    ReplyDelete
  45. As an atheist I am at least happy that you have seen the light.Religions have been responsible for nearly all wars,the rape of colonies,amassing wealth through genocide and claiming to be above the law ie. child abuse.
    So let's see if their is a God now Mr.Rudd as surely if their was you would be pushing up daisies to-morrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seeing as the first thing you did was declare yourself an atheist, I'm assuming you hold evidence fairly in fairly high prestige when it comes to determining whether or not a claim is true. Therefore, you should be able to present evidence in order to demonstrate your claim that "[r]eligions have been responsible for nearly all wars,the rape of colonies,amassing wealth through genocide..." because this seems to just be nothing but rhetoric to me.

      Delete
  46. Thanks Kevin, well reasoned and explained. An important issue to GBLTG Australians. Has absolutely no effect on others. Live and get on with living.

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  47. I agree that the secular state can have broader definition of marriage than the church, this makes sense but to do so the secular state needs a new term. You can no longer call it Marriage as it wont be marriage in its original definition of the term. This is where I feel you hit most of your opposition from the Christian churches. Its the fact that everyone insists on calling it Marriage, call it something else, make up a new word or term. Do this and it'll pass, and that's it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's called Marriage because there is a Marriage Act which is an Act of Parliament. The name belongs to the people of Australia who elect the Parliament. If the Churches want another name then they are free to find one.

      Delete
  48. How could anyone say to a gay couple who has lived together for 20 years that they are less deserving of marriage than Kim Kardashian's 6 month sham marriage to that Kris Humpfies bloke!! Crude example I know but some people are gay and they deserve the same right to marry the person they love that many take for granted. Thank you Kevin.....I wish the rest of Australia's politicians had the same courage!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It takes NO courage to follow the foul sweep overtaking our planet.
      It takes courage to stand firm.

      Delete
  49. Much respect Mr Rudd. I live within your electorate and it is thrilling to know I can vote for a federal representative who shares my view on same sex marriages. Reading this article has made my day.

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  50. Kevin I applaud you. Of course if you were to provide further leadership on this issue it would definitely help Labor differentiate itself from the coalition in September. Please consider it, for the good of the country.

    Legalise same-sex marriage? Damn straight!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQaVL2faoZ8

    ReplyDelete
  51. What does same-sex marriage have to do with religion? Marriage is the only institution which unites a child with a mother and father. A child has a right to both mother and father. What you advocate denies them this natural right, a right endorsed, by the way, by the UN Declaration of Human Rights. I'm sorry, but I see only political calculation in this change of heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And all this time I thought it was good Parenting bonds a child with it's parents - how silly of me! Thank you for pointing out the now obvious truth that religion is about a person's relationship with their parents - there was I thinking it was about a person's relationship with God!

      Delete
  52. I too struggle with the fear that 'some' children may be given a bias view on relationships, and have incorrect opinions of either men or women engrained into thier upbringing.
    I also agree that there should be a referendum on this matter so that a decision of this magnitude is carried with the will of the poeple.
    Too much is decided within the arguments of a few, to rule the many

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  53. I can't agree on exempting the Churches. If the Churches want a licence from the State (aka the people of Australia) to marry couples in accordance with the Marriage Act they should obey whatever anti-discrimination law are built into that Act. If they don't want to do that they can perform whatever ceremony they like and the couple can get a legal marriage later.

    Michael

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  54. Seeing as the first thing you did was declare yourself an atheist, I'm assuming you hold evidence fairly in fairly high prestige when it comes to determining whether or not a claim is true. Therefore, you should be able to present evidence in order to demonstrate your claim that "[r]eligions have been responsible for nearly all wars,the rape of colonies,amassing wealth through genocide..." because this seems to just be nothing but rhetoric to me.

    ReplyDelete
  55. GAY PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE JUST AS MISRABLE AS THE REST OF US. COME BACK KEVIN!!!!!! IT'S NOT TO LATE.

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  56. well done Kevin. Once again proving to be the early adopting intelligent and independent voice of our 'leaders'..

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  57. Why should the state have anything at all to say about who can marry who. And even more extreme, why on earth would anyone defer to the opinions of the church in relation to our country's social policy. I find the idea that you need to explain this position, offensive in the extreme.

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  58. Thanks for taking the time to write this Mr Rudd. I don't agree with you on the issue of heterosexual marriage. I believe that as much as possible with respect to rights to property, freedom from discrimination, the right to have their union legally recognised (through civil union) homosexual couples should be treated in the same way as heterosexual couples. As you say, the crux of the issue is whether homosexual couples should be able to have/raise children. When you consider the vulnerable in this issue, you need to also include the rights of unborn children. It does not get much more vulnerable than not yet having been born. Children should be born into families where they know and are raised by both biological parents. Of course sadly we know that in society this does not always occur. But, given the ideal that children be raised by their biological parents it seems to me to be a lowest common denominator argument to say that as children are sometimes beneficially raised by foster parents/single mothers/step parents - therefore why shouldn't they be raised by homosexuals (where by design one parent is not the biological parent). This is of course no reflection on homosexual parents - I have many wonderful homosexual friends who I know would make great parents but this is not the question at the heart of the gay marriage issue. Nature is cruel, it is unequal in that it does not allow homosexuals to bear children between them. I don't think we need to intervene to address this natural inequality. Children are not a commodity, we do not have a right to create them in any circumstances (this applies to unmarried women using sperm donors to create children) - their right to know and be raised by their biological parents should be protected by society and politicians such as yourself. This is not a popular view but it is one worth standing up for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with your view and feel the same way.

      Delete
  59. Thank you Kevin.

    In 100 years we will look back upon people who disagree with gay marriage the same way we now look back upon those who disagree with abolishing slavery

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  60. Now to get Julia on board and a good win for Labor if all the MPS can think the same. After all what's she got to lose,she is after all an atheist so has no morale reason not to push this legislation.

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  61. About time Mr Rudd! I might just be compelled to vote for you now!

    Ps. Yes there were areas of the legislation altered by your leadership to remove some discrimination from the legislation (thanks!) But the Senate Enquiry outlined over 30 remaining areas of legislation requiring change...

    Also, a referendum is not the answer as you know, because marriage is not a constitutional issue. The parliament needs to join the right side of history, join 70% of Australians and bring in marriage and other legislative equality!

    Lastly, thanks "staffer". HOMOsapiens are in the workplace, the schools, the neighbourhoods, the Churches, it's true.

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  62. Thank you Kevin Rudd for thoroughly and publicly explaining your opinion on this issue when that's something that almost seems taboo in politics today. Thank you for acknowledging that religion and state can be separate and still co-exist.

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  63. Thank you K Rudd. Thank you so much.

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  64. It seems that a fair proportion of the comments supporting gay so called marriage most likely dont have children. If they did, i would be surprised if they still thought it was a good idea to keep promoting the concept. Kids are extremely impressionable and it is interesting to see how they mimic parents. kids need role models. i had a friend when growing up who was brought up within a gay household and he couldnt wait to leave home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a friend who couldn't wait to get away from his straight parents either. You can't just act like every problem that could possibly occur is because of homosexuality.

      Delete
    2. I'm sure he isn't the only person in the world who couldn't wait to leave home!!!! As for mimicking parents, my parents are straight, yet i turned out gay!! Explain that.

      Delete
    3. Being homosexual isnt a problem and on the other hand gay marriage isnt ideał. society should at least try and put its best foot forward.

      Delete
    4. Father of 3 here, and wholeheartedly support gay marriage. The whole "gay people will cause kids to be gay" argument has been debunked for a long time - you might be surprised that there are actual statistics around this, and, shock horror, the percentage of kids who turn out to be gay are the same whether the parents are heterosexual or homosexual. You argument fails on many points.

      Delete
    5. Your missing my point. No where did i mention about kids being converted. Every parent wants the best for their kids and if you had a choice i bet you wouldnt pick a gay marriage for each of your three kids. If you think thats ideał than good luck to your kids.

      Delete
  65. Thanks Kev, very well put. You just went up another peg in my book!

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  66. Woohoo, go Kevin!!!

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  67. Et tu, Brute?

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  68. Yet, not a single apology for and ignorance/discrimination against us in the past!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ignorance/discrimination is well expected from politicians however swallowing their pride and admitting their shortcomings is not. I think Mr. Rudd has already proven enough by speaking up on an issue which most prominent politicians won't even touch (Ms. Gillard anyone??)

      Delete
  69. Good on ya Kev

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  70. Well said. I agree with your decision not to take a leadership role on this position nationally. I think you're greatest strength is yielding power and influence within the ALP, with the increasing backing of our nation on this issue. Cheers

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  71. A very substantive piece and I'm very grateful there is at least one person out there that can be thoughtfully engaged on this issue. Your piece however shirks, almost overtly, on the most central point of contention between the Church and the State - the definition of the word 'marriage'.

    And here let me begin by saying I feel more alone than just about anyone. I am young, non-religious, in progressive politics, and still very lukewarm when it comes same-sex marriage.

    I have a few points I need to tackle you on, starting with the history, and then the implications for policy:

    1)

    When I ask my many gay friends, "what do you think of civil unions if they conferred all the same legal rights as marriage?"

    I hear universally that this would be unacceptable and inadequate.

    Then I ask: "But why?"

    To which normally I get a deeply emotive and nonsensical reply. This is understandable given it is such an emotive issue, but once (and only once) I got the following measured response:

    "Because society holds no value in civil unions, whereas a special status is conferred upon those who are married, and we wont be equal until we can marry too."

    So my next question of course was: "Where do you feel this social status comes from, if not the law?"

    To which he answered: "it just is".

    So I researched the word 'marriage', and it is clear that the word was first coined in the year 1297 to describe 'the sacrament ritual as performed by the Church'. In other words, the word 'Marriage' is really no different from 'Communion' or 'Baptism' in that sense; and its social value is conferred by virtue of it already having been a religious rite from the year 1215 onward (before the word was coined to describe it).

    Naturally, civil marriages occur and are perfectly valid, but the reason this is the case (at least in Australia) is because Henry VIII seized the church in England completely and made himself both the civil and religious head - so much for separation of Church and State!

    The point is that, while civil marriages have been with us for a long while (though one expects it would have been rare when the Marriage Act was passed) the Church has been able to retain, tacitly, the definition of the term 'Marriage' itself.

    If anyone doubts this, I ask them to imagine for a moment the Pope coming out and saying 'for now on we will be performing the holy sacrament of marriage with same-sex couples'. Who thinks they'd even be a debate in this country? The law would change to match and we'd all get on with our lives.

    There is a seriousness to this too. Like it or not, it is the pseudo-religious status of the term 'Marriage' that largely accounts for its special status in our society, irrespective of how non-religious a married couple may be. The status which I fully accept exists over and above what can be legislated in a civil union.

    There is a perilous danger therefore that legislating for 'marriage' against the will of most churches will NOT confer the same social status to same-sex couples. No doubt there would be celebrations among those lobbying for change, but over time that feeling will sour as they find that many do not recognize their union in those terms, and -rightly or wrongly- subtly look upon them with resentment.

    This does inform another policy option going forward however, which I'll conclude on at the end...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you think (say) too much. Do you really think that the earth is going to implode when gays can marry.... let what will be, be

      Delete
    2. I'm not saying more than Kev does in his blog post - but it all leads to my suggestion at the end of 22:35. If people think being a same-sex couple feels like being alone, imagine being a twenty something in progressive politics on the other side of the debate. I'm more in the closet on this than any gay person I know when it comes to their sexuality.

      Delete
    3. For goodness sakes, stand up and be counted. Your opinions are very well considered. But seeing as the most hostile people these days are athiests and homosexuals I can understand your reticence. DARE TO BE A DANIEL.

      Delete
  72. I'm a gay male, been in the Griffith Electorate the last 20 years. Thank you K Rudd, you have restored my faith in common sense, decency and acceptance of all your constituents.

    ReplyDelete
  73. 2)

    But there is a second problem with changing the Marriage Act.

    At the moment, the Marriage Act discriminates against a wide range of potential matches. While I agree wholeheartedly that the arguments suggesting that 'marriage is about children' is groundless; after all, heterosexual couples who cannot have children still get married; it nevertheless serves as the basis of the current legislation. By this I mean that the couples that cannot get married either clearly cannot have children of their own (same-sex couples) or would carry a universally disproportionate risk of birth defect (closely related couples).

    With a change to the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples, what would be the grounds for excluding closely related couples from marrying? Aside from a feeling of moral repugnance that is (remembering of course that same feeling would have been common when discussing same-sex couples back when the Marriage Act was passed).

    Most people, particularly same-sex couples, get very offended when I raise this point; but I mean it seriously and sincerely.

    If you change the definition of marriage to something that is not based on having children, than what grounds do you have for banning brother and sister (who are consenting adults) from marrying too?

    Some have argued that, unlike same-sex couples, those who are closely related genetically are likely to pass on defects and therefore it can still be banned. This doesn't hold up to scrutiny either, however, otherwise everyone with identifiable congenital defects would be barred from marriage, which of course they are not.

    I therefore get a little annoyed hearing the term 'marriage equality', since it is arguably more equal now, at least in its discrimination.

    But I said I was going to conclude with a policy suggestion, and it follows these steps:


    i) All existing marriages are grandfathered in as a practical step.

    ii) The law is changed so that ALL SECULAR unions in future, both those between a man and a woman as well as same-sex couples are considered "Civil Unions" (or something else secular that means the same but sounds nicer)

    iii) Only unions performed in a Church would be 'Marriages' but they would have the same legal status as Civil Unions.

    This way there would be no bias against same-sex couples as both secular heterosexual and same-sex couples would have the same status in mainstream society; and there would be less infringements between Church and State.

    Everybody wins, and we get a real equality.

    Then by all means continue to lobby the Church's over the long term - I know in the Vatican the debate is raging quietly; one day, albeit a long time from now, they may change too.

    Thank you and others for reading to my thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Meanwhile Australia goes further down the gurgler, whilst a minority pushes their distainful practice rejected by the majority.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter Lane-Collett20 May 2013 23:06

      Are you saying that the majority of Australians finds the sexual preferences and practices of gay people (I assume they are your "minority") to be distainful? Firstly a practice can't be "disdainful" only a person can. Maybe you mean "distasteful" as in unsavoury? Secondly I think you'll find that while the majority of Australians is heterosexual, that majority supports the rights of homosexual people.

      I love the way so many of these "Anonymous" posters seem to have such conviction of their views but aren't brave enough to put their names against their comments.

      Delete
    2. Yes, we need a referendum IF it is attemped to be pushed through.

      Delete
    3. The majority of Australia supports gay marriage. At the very least, the majority supports homosexuality.

      There goes your point "down the gurgler."

      Delete
  75. Thank you very much Kevin for supporting us when faced with such vitriolic and ignorant backlash!

    I too don't buy for a moment the idea that if one doesn't come from the standard mum, dad, brother, sister and maybe a dog and a white picket fence family then there must be something terribly wrong. Things like immigration, high divorce rates and women entering the workforce have had significant impacts on the 'typical nuclear family'. It's now a rare thing to see simply a four person family headed by a male and female.

    In the case of same-sex couples with children I find it rather insulting that people would insinuate that the children would be better off in some other arrangement. These parents have almost always been forced to jump through so many (expensive) loopholes to have these children. There are no 'accidents' with same-sex couples. Because of the sheer effort gone into simply having a child there is a ZERO percent domestic abuse rate from same-sex families.
    Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/10/lesbians-child-abuse-0-percent_n_781624.html

    These parents generally take in these kids from abusive heterosexual families and raise them so well that despite the early abuse they receieved they perform to regular standards. And if they were conceived from IVF they tend to outperform children raised by heterosexual parents.
    Source: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1994480,00.html

    And really from my own experience children raised by same-sex couples are just so much more polite and able to function socially from a young age. It's really a noticable difference that everyone I know has commented on when they meet children raised by same-sex couples.
    So I just think it's really insulting when people make sweeping statements about how children are going to suffer if they're raised by same-sex parents, because using that notion we really should be worried about how much childen are suffering being raised by heterosexual parents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had friend who cried in front of me because he was brought up by his gay mother and her partner. I never forgot that moment and thought how unfair it was for him.

      Delete
  76. Hi Kevin, I met you years ago when you spoke at a Christians in the Media conference. When I first saw your post I thought (typical skeptical journalist) that you had just changed your position to buy votes, but I see you have obviously thought and prayed long and hard about it. I cannot agree with your position, except to say, Yes, the church should retain the power to only conduct marriages between men and women. I must admit I am saddened you have based your decision on statistics and the feelings of your gay friends and colleagues (however sincere and heartfelt) as well as your reading of scripture. I believe, even when it is an unpopular view, our guidance and authority should come solely from the Bible, God's unchanging word. Christians throughout the ages have held onto its unchanging message, even when it meant going against the tide of popular opinion. For example, William Wilberforce, who was a leader in the push to overturn slavery laws. (And yes, 'Christians' have abused God's word to do terrible wrongs throughout history too). The bible says marriage is between one man, one woman, for life and that was the principle before there even was an organised 'church'. I know this is a really unpopular view and it is sometimes very hard to balance competing thoughts about equity, rights, love and compassion with our faith but we are called as Christians to stick to what God says about who we are and how we should live, including the fundamentals of how we structure our families and society, regardless of what the majority eventually decides. While I cannot agree with everything you say, I must give you credit for the depth of your thoughtfulness, your deep understanding of the grace Jesus showed to all of us and for posting it before the election, so every voter knows exactly where you stand.

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    Replies
    1. Melanie, I have to ask you to answer this question for me. I know the answer already and I am a Christian Woman who is a Lesbian...but please tell me...we are supposed to all as Christians follow the teachings of Christ...Where in the 4 Gospels does Christ preach against the homosexual? My father is a retired minister and when I came out to him several years ago he did a paper titled "the church v homosexuality" He researched both for and against then...when he got to those fatal few verses that everyone speaks of he read the chapter in their entirity and realised that all these years people all Christians have been taking those out of context and that they should have a read of the whole chapter and not just the verse to see the true meaning behind those verses. I ask you ask one Christian to another. Please do that for yourself and for others...You may be surprised in what you learn when you read both the Chapter in Romans and in Corinthians and see what the true mean was...it isn't about homosexuality as you would think. Just do that and maybe just maybe God will open your eyes as well. thanks

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    2. Hi Trish.

      There is a very simple reason why Jesus didn't say much on homosexuality - his ministry was almost exclusively to a Jewish population in Israel which homosexuality was taboo, and was dangerously frowned upon (with death as a repercussion)...

      There is a reason why this is prevalent within Paul's teaching, because his ministry was amongst the Greeks and the Romans; two societies in which homosexuality was not just common, but sometimes expected in demonstrating status.

      To say "Jesus doesn't speak about it" is to ignore the weight of biblical material which DOES speak about it. Jesus is clear on a number of occasions that sexual immorality is unacceptable (would the original hearer have thought Jesus was somehow precluding homosexuality from this? I'd think not). The passages in Romans 1 and in Corinthians make it very clear. As do passages in Colossians... as does the Old Testament.

      My encouragement to you is to continue to listen to God's word - as you already sound like you are doing. I pray that both you and I will keep reflecting on God's word, not just on this issue (but this included), and that we will continue to be people who are shaped by what we read, in our service of Christ.

      I wish you all the best with this.

      - Mick (sorry, don't have a profile option here)

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  77. One can only TRULY and FULLY appreciate Oz when one looks at it from a distance. Three and a bit years separate me from the place where I was born and raised. A place which I love and miss with all my heart - Terra Australis.
    On my travels, I have seen both good and bad, but there is one thing that I can say with absolute certainty - religious and social intolerance , in addition to pride, breeds conflict and ruin.
    Australia is a bright light in a progressively darkening world - it is a place where freedom and love reign. A microcosm, if you like, of what the world should be like.
    Kevin Rudd is a shining example of a man of tolerance and foresight; attributes that have helped to shape Australia into what it is today...and that , simply put, is --the best place on this God's earth.
    With respect,
    alex

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  78. So much respect Kevin, for a such a rational, thoughtful and educated response. Hopefully the message will get out there.

    Emma, Brisbane

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  79. Good for you Kevin, I am a Christian (meaning I live Christ like) but I can't stand religion, it is so hypocritical. Anyway god made bisexual and hermaphrodite creatures and as Father Bob McGuire once said "We are only five minutes into the evolutionary scale, who knows what we are going to evolve into"

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  80. I applaud you on your bold position.
    I know the majority of Australia would be happy to accept marriage equality.
    Please step up to the plate Mr Rudd, and push for your party to also accept this as a policy immediately.

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  81. Thank you Mr Rudd and thank you to the man (anonymous staffer) who was the catalyst for your reweighing your thoughts & evolving. It takes guts to do what he did - last year in my (Baptist) church I read a nasty article in a church paper against marriage equality so stood up & shared how hurtful that was (I'm gay and in a 14 year relationship) - to the credit of my congregation I've seldom felt so hugged & loved.

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  82. Mr Rudd, since when did you become a Theologian and be able to interpret Christian Scripture accordingly? I'm sorry but your views on Christianity and the Bible are so warped and do much injustice. In your 'extensive' reflection, have you ever consulted the Church Fathers? They have written some amazing piece of works largely ignored by Western literature. Reflecting on Aquinas only and beyond is hardly extensive...it's destructive!

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    1. The fact is that churches/religion stifle change and if they had it their way then the views and beliefs on this world and its creator (If their even is one) would never change. The power of religion is based on fear, the fear that the their all loving god will punish them if they don't follow a certain set of rules, created in a completely different day and age. Religious people have an understandable fear that if they don't oppose gay marriage then they will not be allowed into heaven and may be even sent to hell. The default response of religious people in regards to gay marriage, is to simply disagree out of fear.

      I think one of the most important and powerful things in this world is to have a belief in something and I hate the fact that religion has guided the belief of a large amount of the worlds population towards a rigid set of rules that are humorously outdated. My belief is that our minds are the most powerful tools available to us but there is no possible way that we can perceive the true reasoning behind us being here today without experiencing death. I truly believe that the only truth in this life is love and happiness, and religion/church does not support this truth. Belief is infinite and there is no one single correct way of expressing your belief, which again, religion/church does not support.

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  83. Thank you Mr. Rudd for giving my partner and I some hope that one day we will have all the rights that straight people do. What you have finally realised is that the "normal" that people are referring to, I.E. 2.5 kids, two parent home, dog, cat, etc is not normal society anymore. Yes that part of society does exist but it is now a minority not a majority. It proves though that with times changing thoughts on what is normal needs to change as well. The hard working single parent who keeps a roof over his or her kids heads, food in their belly, acts as both parents and has a normal child with all the normal problems that kids have and yet 10 years ago it was said that they were wrong in raising kids out of wed lock and that those children would never overcome the problems that they would have by not having both parents in their lives. As we have all seen....they have survived they have overcome etc. If society lets them. The same with kids who have two mums or two dads...Come out of the stone age people. It is a fact of life...and just like the single parent...it's time to realise that if the child is shown love and is cared for...they will survive. Wake up to yourselves...Stop using the children as an excuse.

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  84. Seems like someone might be trying to differentiate himself from the PM before the election. Not very becoming. This is an important issue and isn't assisted by political posturing. I agree with some of the earlier comments that the theology being used to support this argument is not very well developed.

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    1. So a politician can't take a stance on an important issue anymore without them being accused of doing it for political gain?

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    2. And what about this evidence?

      "One of the most comprehensive surveys of children raised in same sex relationships is the US National Longitudinal Survey conducted since 1986 – 1992 (and still ongoing) on adolescents raised by same sex partners. This survey, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics in 2010, concluded that there were no Child Behaviour Checklist differences for these kids as against the rest of the country"

      "Slavery would still be regarded as normal as political constituencies around the world, like the pre-civil war American South, continued to invoke the New Testament injunction that "slaves be obedient to your masters" as their justification. Not to mention the derivative political theologies that provided ready justifications for bans on inter-racial marriage and, in very recent times, the ethical obscenity that was racial segregation and apartheid"

      "Advocates of equality would also have difficulty with Paul's injunction that "wives should be submissive to their husbands" (As a good Anglican, Thérèse has never been a particularly big rap for Saint Paul on this one). The Bible also teaches us that people should be stoned to death for adultery (which would lead to a veritable boom in the quarrying industry were that still the practice today). The same for homosexuals. And the biblical conditions for divorce are so strict that a woman could be beaten within an inch of her life and still not be allowed to legally separate."

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  85. Hi Kevin,

    I appreciate your candid and thoughtful response. Whether this is right from a "national" perspective - I personally am uncertain.

    If I might critique a point, it is that I felt your biblical argument was quite weak. Quote a bit of Leviticus; make claims that polygamy is ok by Christians; throw "submission" in there as a joke. It struck me that while you are, legitimately "thrown", by the revelation of your colleague, that you would be wise to likewise consult wisdom in understanding what a helpful and thought out Christian perspective on this might look like. - I think that you might have missed the mark on this particular one; and hope that you have wise conversation partners who might be helpful in continuing to think this through.

    -Mick

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    1. After reading this I honestly don't understand how people can still oppose gay marriage. We shouldn't have to consult an outdated book which advocates slavery, to decide what is the right thing to do now.

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  86. Astounding that the institution of marriage was ever allowed to be turned into an instrument of discrimination. My partner and I won't consider marriage again until it is a freedom extended to all our fellow citizens; to do otherwise would be an abandonment of the principles of equality, tolerance and a fair go that make this country worth living in.

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  87. Same sex marriage should be legal. This is a secular country and allowing men to marry men and women to marry women is the only rational conclusion one can reach on the issue.

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  88. Religion and gay marriage should do swapsies, when gay marriage is legalised in Australia. All the mainstream religions should be outlawed, illegal, and frowned upon because it is so utterly disgusting and unnatural.

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    1. Amen! religion is a scam! I actually feel very sorry and sad for religious people and I wish there was a way for them to express their individualistic beliefs in a manner that isn't conforming to a set of rules. I wish they were able to see the light! har har ah the irony

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    2. That's like asking history to swap. Not possible.

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    3. Only society views religion as a set of rules. It is most likely not the case if you study them

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    4. Fine, swap the word rule with belief. The main message I'm trying to convey is that a higher belief in something should be completely up to the individual and should not be acquired by studying the beliefs of others from centuries ago. I truly think that everyone should have a belief in something but that belief is completely up to the individual. We are all going to the exact same place when we die and just because someone has different beliefs doesn't mean that they are going to be subject to eternal damnation...Religion is outdated and creates too many problems in the world. How many wars have been fought over beliefs in a different "god".

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  89. I love you like everyone else m8, but fair shake.

    A child produced like a stuffed toy for a lesbian couple is denied a relationship to his biological father. And for what? For who? Divorce or death is one thing, but knowing your biological parent is out there and ignorant of you, or concealed from you, is another. Children cant be served by that. Society cant be served by that.

    And crap Churches will be respected by the state. How long will the state tolerate an institution teaching children something fundamentally at odds with the nation's laws? Longer than we tolerate it calling abortion murder and refusing to conduct them in its hospitals? Who knows. But such a law puts our faith on an unavoidable collision course with the state.

    FInally, it's heartbreaking to see your nerve melt away on Christian tradition - entirely relativized to whatever the prevailing culture is. But what was true yesterday is true today. At bottom, this issue isn't about human rights, but about the real first principle of this: what is the moral meaning of the sex act?

    Alas for the 'true believers', comrade...

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    1. " But what was true yesterday is true today "

      Wrong and naive assumption. Slavery? Divorce? etc. Oh and good on ya for making Mr. Rudd look like a traitor for taking a stand against outdated beliefs. Honestly, i wish there was a simple way to show you that you've been brainwashed...

      Did you skip the part with the evidence that outlines the fact that children with same sex parents detailed "no Child Behaviour Checklist differences". To refresh your memory here's the paragraph,

      "That does not mean, by some automatic corollary, that children raised in same sex relationships are destined to experience some sort of nirvana by comparison. But scientific surveys offer important indications. One of the most comprehensive surveys of children raised in same sex relationships is the US National Longitudinal Survey conducted since 1986 – 1992 (and still ongoing) on adolescents raised by same sex partners. This survey, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics in 2010, concluded that there were no Child Behaviour Checklist differences for these kids as against the rest of the country. There are a number of other research projects with similar conclusions as well. In fact 30 years of research has seen the Australian Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Paediatrics and the American Psychological Association acknowledge that same sex families do not compromise children’s development. "

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  90. Mr Rudd, I seriously question your meetings with King Jesus as His presence as a healer, savior, mediator, prophet and king would make you, and everybody, fall and cry Holy!! Even though you call yourself a Christian, I question if you've spent more time with other people rather then dwelt in His holy place. This is NOT a judgement, just a challenge for you to take up your cross and follow a King that is a definition TRUE love. A love that exceeds everything!! All political views, relationships, finances and lifestyles for nothing but a desire to be in a relationship above all. A King that will never leave nor forsake you.

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    1. " First, given that I profess to be a Christian (albeit not a particularly virtuous one)"

      I don't think Mr. Rudd actually believes any of garbage that religion professes.

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  91. There is roughly 21 different religions and an estimated 5 billion people who are considered to be religious. Logically, there can only be one correct god so over 4.5 billion people are trying to please a god which does not even exist.

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