Parliament must work to unify Australians by respecting different views on marriage, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) President Archbishop Denis Hart said this week in the wake of the result of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday morning, Wednesday 15 November, revealed Australians had voted Yes to same-sex marriage in a non-compulsory postal vote, with 61.6 per cent in favour and 38.4 per cent against.
There were 7,817,247 votes for Yes and 4,873,987 for No. A further 36,686 votes, or 0.2 per cent, were unclear.
“The Catholic Church, and many others who sought to retain the definition of marriage as it has been understood for centuries, continues to view marriage as a special union between a woman and a man, which allows for the creation and nurture of children,” Archbishop Hart said.
“A change in civil law does not change the Catholic understanding of the nature of marriage,” Archbishop Hart said.
In a breakdown of the statistics, Western Australia was 63.7 per cent Yes and 36.3 per cent No, with Tasmania close behind on 63.6 per cent Yes and 36.4 per cent No.
South Australia was next with 62.5 per cent Yes and 37.5 per cent No, followed by Queensland with 60.7 per cent Yes and 39.3 per cent No.
The Northern Territory came just after on 60.6 per cent Yes and 39.4 per cent No, with NSW bringing up the rear on 57.8 per cent Yes and 42.2 per cent No.
Eight out of 10 Australians responded to the survey, or 12,727,920 people out of the 16,006,180 who were posted one — a participation rate of 79.5 per cent.
All age groups had higher than 70 per cent participation, with older voters having a slightly higher turnout.
Those aged 70 to 74 were the most likely to respond to the survey, with 89.6 per cent of eligible Australians in this age group voting. The participation rate was lowest among those aged 25 to 29 at 71.9 per cent.
But the youngest group of eligible Australians (aged 18-19 years) were more likely (78.2 per cent) to participate than any other age group under the age of 45.
In continuing his statement, Archbishop Hart noted that the Catholic Church will continue to respect the dignity of LGBTQI Australians.
“Our ministries will continue to care deeply about the dignity and value of all people we encounter,” he said.
“Parliamentarians must recognise and respect the concerns of the more than 4.8 million Australians who opposed a change to the definition of marriage by putting in place strong conscience and religious freedom protections.
“These protections must ensure that Australians can continue to express their views on marriage, that faith-based schools can continue to teach the traditional understanding of marriage and that organisations can continue to operate in a manner that is consistent with those values.”
Statistics courtesy ABS.