Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Archbishop discusses same-sex law changes -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The Archbishop of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church, Dr Peter Jensen, is one
of the country's most vocal opponents of gay marriage.

A short time ago I asked him for his reaction to the Federal Government's plans.

PETER JENSEN: Well first of all we welcome the Government's clear and firm determination to make
sure that what ever happens this is not about marriage. And I think that's been made very clear and
it won't extend to marriage.

Marriage is between a man and a women and I think that's an excellent that the Government has made
clear.

In regard to the other changes, personally I remain concerned about the impact of the gay lifestyle
on our community. And I don't believe any of us should be forced to accept it.

But on the other hand I think too that there were various injustices that did need to be attended
to.

We haven't seen the details, we don't know how far this extends.

But there are relationships in which there is some discrimination in our laws, and that needs to be
attended to. Mind you I think it's not just gay relationships.

So I'd see, I hope this is not just pro-gay, so to speak but pro-people.

ELEANOR HALL: Are you comfortable that a homosexual relationship will now be treated in the same
way as a de facto heterosexual relationship?

PETER JENSEN: Well I don't think that the recognition is the same. I think there will be points at
which such a relationship will benefit from the changes.

But I don't, as I understand it, we're not dealing here with something that mimics marriage. And
that's the key point.

What I'd like to see it is extended to people in other sorts of relationships, which are
non-sexual, in order to make sure there's justice for all Australians.

ELEANOR HALL: What sort of relationships are you talking about?

PETER JENSEN: Well there could be two friends living together, on a long standing basis over many
years. It's not a sexual relationship, but it is a relationship. And they support and strengthen
each other, there'd be many Christian people living like that.

And I think that sort of thing could also be recognised.

ELEANOR HALL: Many members of Australia's gay community welcome the move but they still want gay
marriage to be legalised. Why are you so opposed to that?

PETER JENSEN: Well I think it's impossible. That is to say, I think marriage, this is not a matter
of government (inaudible). We can't simply say, oh by the way marriage is different now.

Marriage is between a man and a women and the Government is determined to recognise that basic
fact.

Let there be relationships between people and even of a sexual nature is not a thing again, but I
think it will damage our community if we don't recognise the basic facts of our human existence.

ELEANOR HALL: In what way would it damage the community?

PETER JENSEN: Well marriage has been given to us for our good. And family life has been given to us
for our good.

The good effects of marriage and family are clearly apparent, and in a strange world in which we
live, it's astonishing to me, but we do need to protect marriage and family.

And I have in my mind here a much broader issues than simply the gay issue. So for example, I think
it's clear that simply living together for example, is not good for the persons involved, and not
good for the society in which we live.

The nurturing of children needs to be done by a man and women in a stable relationship and that's
good for children.

ELEANOR HALL: What if that stable relationship though, is between two couples of the same sex and
children can be nurtured there. Is that really a problem?

PETER JENSEN: You know, the way in which God has set up the world, He's set us up to be brought up
by a man and a women. And we learn from the partner of the opposite sex certain extraordinarily
important things that can't be learnt simply by being raised by two people of the same sex.

ELEANOR HALL: The definition of a marriage though is also, I understand, that it's a union between
a man and a women for life. So why then does your church condone divorce?

PETER JENSEN: Well we don't condone divorce and never have. The Lord Jesus made it perfectly clear
that divorce was something that arises from the, what he called, the evil of our hearts.

But as with all human relationships things sometimes go wrong and we must regulate things when they
do go wrong.

Now that happens, that's human relationships, and that's just recognition of reality.

ELEANOR HALL: Archbishop Jensen, thanks very much for joining us.

PETER JENSEN: Very good to speak to you. Thanks, Eleanor.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Dr Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church.