The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia (AUC), in harmony with the Church’s long-held values on religious liberty, will continue to advocate for appropriate legislation to protect religious freedom and free speech after today’s announcement that the majority of Australians have voted in favour of changing the definition of marriage.
Australian statistician David Kalisch announced this morning the results of the postal survey, with the “yes” vote receiving 61.6 per cent and the “no” vote 38.4 per cent.
“While we hoped and prayed for a different outcome, we respect the voice of the Australian people,” said AUC secretary Michael Worker, who is also chair of the AUC Religious Freedom Steering Committee.
“However, this is not the end of the story. We will continue to advocate against restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, and we would encourage all of our Church members around Australia to do the same.
“There are many positive elements in Liberal Senator James Paterson’s bill that would provide sufficient protections for all citizens, regardless of their faith.”
However, according to media reports, this bill has little prospect of being passed. It is likely that Liberal Senator Dean Smith will introduce his bill, which has cross-party support, in the Senate this afternoon to legalise same-sex marriage.
“Let us pray for our Government as they wrestle with this significant change to the fabric and structure of Australian society,” Pastor Worker said. “Our hope is that this process will not be rushed, rather, that time will be taken to ensure that appropriate protections are established.
“In all our discussions we would urge everyone to continue to uphold the values of love and respect for all people, and when we are communicating our reactions to the vote we need to show consideration to those who hold different views to ourselves.”