Bendigo Advertiser readers have their say on the subject of same-sex marriage

RELATED: Letters to the editor, August 31

RELATED: Christian leaders support marriage equality

RELATED:  Bishop calls for respectful marriage debate

RELATED: ‘Yes’ campaign to kick off in Bendigo

EDITORIAL: Same-sex couples and Bendigo LGBTI community need our support

An issue of human rights

Marriage equality is such a divisive issue at the moment, but please let's not make it more complicated than it is.

This question should not be about anything other than whether you consider the love between two people to be a worthy and valuable thing in your own mind.

This is a basic human rights issue, a decision to make about how we see the people within the LGBTQI community – can we put ourselves in their shoes and really feel what it would be like to know that your love is deemed unworthy in the eyes of both society and the law?

I know that I could never see my gay family members as anything less than equal to myself.

Marriage equality needs to happen, and it needs to be called marriage – separate but equal is still discrimination, still turning it into something “other” and therefore not deserving of being categorised with the rest of us.  

This world is so lacking in love and empathy right now, don't let this be another thing that divides us.

There are so many problems at the moment, complex ones that are difficult to solve; Marriage equality really isn't one of them.

Melissa Abel, Kangaroo Flat

Need for fairness

If we are to have a postal survey on marriage equality, why don't we have an additional question put to the Australian people?

Something along the lines of: Should religious organisations who actively support discrimination against other citizens on the basis of their sexuality have their tax exempt status revoked?

What happened to the separation of church and state? If I don't believe in your God why do you have a right to believe that I should be denied my civil right to marry the person I love?

Denis Chapman, Bendigo

Thanks to those who show kindness

The response of the Bendigo community to the marriage equality survey is both heartening and reassuring.

Since the survey was announced volunteers for the Bendigo Says Yes campaign have been talking to the public about marriage equality, and the responses have for the most part been positive.

Elderly grandparents have told us about their concern for their children in long-term same sex relationships who need the legal security that marriage brings.

Young adults new to voting have expressed how eager they are to participate in a historic change.

Business owners have welcomed the opportunity to support their customers. 

But by far the most common sentiment shared is bemusement at being asked to vote at all.

We have heard many variations on the theme "who are we to tell people who they can and can't love?", from committed Catholics, one-eyed Liberal voters, staunch unionists, bored teenagers and elderly married couples. And they all agree, it’s a simple of matter of human rights. 

Thank-you to those kind Bendigo souls for the simple act of being kind.

Natasha Joyce, Bendigo Says Yes Campaign

POSTAL VOTE: Some readers advocate for fairness, others follow the biblical view.

POSTAL VOTE: Some readers advocate for fairness, others follow the biblical view.

Right to happiness

Equality is union business. While it is true that most of the work we do as unionist is about fighting for the rights of workers to receive decent, safe and well-paying work, we also understand that there is a much larger battle to build a just and fair society for everyone.

We can’t build a just and fair society for everyone while LGBTI workers are treated differently to other workers.  They have the same right to happiness as every other union member and the same right to have their loving, committed relationships treated equally. That’s why the Bendigo Trades Hall stands in solidarity with Bendigo’s LGBTI community and encourage everyone to vote yes for marriage equality. We stand up and fight for all workers, because equality is union business.

Luke Martin, Secretary Bendigo Trades Hall Council

Call to maintain current definition of marriage

As a  Christian leader in this city for nearly 40 years I encourage all Australians to vote to maintain the current definition of marriage in the upcoming postal plebiscite and so protect  the faith foundations  and liberties that make our nation so great. I believe that it is ideal for a child to be raised in a loving and safe home by their biological parents, as the current definition provides, but that doesn't cause me to be critical of other families that don't or can't meet this ideal.

Ultimately we as the Church need to understand that we live in a highly complex world where not everything or everyone fits neatly into our ideal framework or world view.

Our local churches are full of people from all sorts of family structures and  dynamics and we love and embrace them all. Compassion for all and unconditional love is the character of Christ and the culture of true Christianity. I would therefore ask respectfully that you use your upcoming voting opportunity to give future generations the best hope of having this ideal family structure as their preferred family environment.

This traditional family composition still forms the basis of a healthy society and has done so for a couple of thousand years. I hope you understand that this is in no way a negative reflection on those who choose a different lifestyle or favour SSM. Christ's love is unconditional and his  unchanging principles are designed for our common good.

Bruce Claridge, Pastor, Sports Chaplain to Golden Square Football and Netball Club; Bible College Lecturer and Country Victorian Manager for Sports Chaplaincy

Religion allows judgement

God does love us but He does not agree with what is other than His plan for marriage between a woman and a man. Replying to the article ‘Church leaders a voice for ‘yes’ in the Bendigo Advertiser 29th August.

It is very evident that there is a misunderstanding of what the love of God is. 

Yes, God loves each of us and He does expect us to love and treat each other with dignity and respect, even when we have different opinions.  And yes we are not to judge; but this is in reference to the person, to which I totally agree. It isn’t in relation to actions though. We are able to judge these.  Jesus always loved but He did not come into agreement with or support  something that was wrong. Neither should we. We need to know what God thinks about marriage and homosexuality if we want to make an informed decision. The Bible in Genesis tells us in  chapter Chapter  1 verse 27 - 28  ‘So God created man in His image;  in the image of God He created him;  male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.’  Also Chapter 2 verse24   ‘That is why man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and with her becomes one flesh.’ So God created marriage between man and woman.  The scripture doesn’t say man and man or woman and woman or any other combinations. So let us come into agreement with God and His teaching on Marriage, not legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Lyn Wright, Bendigo

Marriage is between man and woman

The Coptic Orthodox Church in unity with the rest of the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church maintain and uphold the clear biblical and traditional Christian teaching that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman.  This is our faith, and whilst recognising non Christians may not accept this, our churches will not abandon this God given teaching.

Fr Moses, Bendigo

Voting yes right and fair

Church leaders singing from different hymn sheets but the headline tells the gospel truth  

Letters objecting to the Christian voices of Bendigo affirming marriage equality, attempt to discredit the impression that people of faith are voting yes but the Advertiser headline accurately reflects the present reality in the pew even if many pulpits are out of touch. 

Australian Christians for Marriage Equality stand in the same tradition as those who stood against slavery, against discrimination according to race, against those depriving women of the vote and gender equality not to forget the eternal punishment of the divorced, all of which had a biblical basis. The bible is a community document. 

We follow the example of Jesus who put human lives first and challenged the religious leaders of his day when they used biblical texts to control and punish rather than free people.

The voices of protest and disapproval are still around, but the community has moved by upholding traditional values of love and compassion. 

It is because of Christian values that we support the continued evolution of marriage to provide the same supports and protections to same sex attracted people so that our whole community can flourish. It would be a tragedy if Bendigo with its historic church buildings gave a contemporary message that excluded and punished children of its own community making them refugees in our own society “casting them from the garden” because of the way that they have been created, what an ugly legacy if the bible should be used as an excuse to hurt rather than heal. If you have a satellite navigation system that hasn’t been updated in 2000 years you are likely to end up in a series of wheelie bins or off a cliff and those in the backseat have started to take an interest and speak up before more lives are thrown away. Everything is impossible until it happens, change is a challenging opportunity.  Putting the lives of loved ones and strangers before us as we vote (often damaged from faith based cruelty and misunderstanding), makes voting yes to marriage equality not just humane, common sense but naturally following the example of Jesus and faith in a fair go.  

The Venerable Peter MacLeod-Miller, Archdeacon of Albury and Hume St Matthew's Anglican Church

Message will pain society

It was sad to see and read your papers coverage regarding SSM 26th Aug. Sad because five clergy were publicly abandoning their ordained calling to preach and teach the "whole Gospel" message, but instead have chosen to go down the populist tickle the ears pathway with a message which may bring momentary consolation to a few, but in the long term, pain not only to the few, but society in general.   If these five clergy ever studied the scriptures, which their quoted comments throw into some doubt, they would have soon realised that whilst they may receive some plaudits from man, they will not be in line for any commendation from God whom they pretend to represent.

Frank Salmon, Eaglehawk

Between man and woman

Marriage legislation as it currently stands protects equality between a male and a female and acknowledges the equal contribution they make to procreation. It governs sexual diversity as opposed to sexual preference diversity. At the very core of male-female marriage is diversity.  This diversity is the stuff of life. Life is what society is built on. All children are born out of a sexually-diverse (male-female) relationship. A child is not a right or reward. The child is a consequence of the sexual union between a female ovum and a male sperm, each of which carry the genetic blueprint of the human being from which it came and gives a child heritage. Marriage has a standard. It is a contract between a man and a woman to provide a stable relationship for new life, in which both parents commit to contribute male and female equally.

Vivienne Wright, Bendigo

Intolerance is appalling

The equal print space argument is a lot like the free speech one – bigotry masquerading as just another opinion, or the other side of the story. The issue of Marriage equality does not affect you if you do not identify as LGBTQI, and you have no right to argue that your views be heard when those views are actively seeking to oppress a minority.  Someone in a position of privilege should not get to have a say in how someone less privileged than them is allowed to live their life.  In a country that prides itself on giving a fair go to all, this intolerance appalls me. And no, I am not a bigot myself for not tolerating the oppression of a minority group.  I highly value empathy and inclusiveness, but I will not stand by while a privileged majority disparages other human beings and tries to trample on their rights. The Bendigo Advertiser was right to show some compassion and support for the LGBTQI community and should not be criticised or bullied into giving equal time to discriminating, small-minded views.

Eleanor Joyce, Bendigo