Catholic Archbishop says majority did not vote for marriage equality

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has argued that the majority of Australians did not voice support for marriage equality because some people did not return their survey forms.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher says that because 20 per cent of people abstained from taking part in the survey, support for allowing same sex couples to marry is only 49 per cent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics announced that 61.6 per cent of those who took part in the survey were in favour of changing the marriage laws, but Archbishop Fisher says that number is overstating the level of support.

“While people are talking about overwhelming support, it’s still not clear that it is overwhelming,” the Archbishop told The Daily Telegraph.

“What is clear is we are very divided over this issue and probably many others. The consensus in Australia is somewhat fractured.”

The Archbishop said he wanted religious protections to be included in the marriage bill because he feared there would be an adverse effect on the charity work that churches and religious organisations undertake. Archbishop Fisher said that the majority of people who selected ‘yes’ on the survey would agree with him.

“I am quite sure that most of the people that ticked yes were not thinking that they don’t want St Vincent de Paul not doing housing projects any more because they are a Catholic organisation, but that is the kind of consequence that can flow.”

Archbishop Fisher said dismissed comparisons between same sex marriage and divorce. The religious leader said divorce was not as contentious an issue and you’d didn’t see sporting groups and major corporations putting making public statements about divorce.

Speaking to The Catholic Leader, where he also claimed only 48 per cent of people had shown support, Archbishop Fisher said the ‘No’ campaign had faced a “David and Goliath” battle.

The Archbishop accused a wide selection of Australian society for “drowning out” the voice of ordinary Australians. In Archbishop Fisher’s sights was the media, politicians, business, celebrities, and sporting bodies.

“From the outset it has often seemed a David and Goliath struggle with politicians, corporates, celebrities, journalists, professional and sporting organisations drowning out the voices of ordinary Australians and pressuring everyone to vote Yes,” the Archbishop said.

Australian Marriage Equality co-chair Anna Brown has responded saying that there are many examples in marriage law where legislation does not match religious doctrine.

“We have to remember that there have been many changes to our laws that are out of step with religious doctrine, such as legalising no-fault divorce and interracial marriage, and the sky hasn’t fallen in,” Brown said. “Religious views are still taught in schools and expressed freely and religious charities continue their good work.”

OIP Staff

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