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‘The love of a same-sex union is valuable’ but not marriage, Archbishop Coleridge says

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Clear views: Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

BRISBANE Archbishop Mark Coleridge has spoken out in favour of traditional marriage, addressed the use of “slippery language” in the same-sex marriage debate, and says Catholics will make up their own minds how they vote in the national postal survey.

Archbishop Coleridge used an ABC TV interview to reinforce his recent pastoral letter in which he explained why he would be voting no in the postal vote on same-sex marriage.

“There are many different forms of love. There is the love of a parent for child, child for parents, sibling for sibling, friend for friend, carer for the one cared for …  but there is only one particular kind of love that we call marriage and that is between a man and a woman,” he told ABC breakfast interviewer Michael Rowland.

“In this whole debate the thing I’ve been keen to do is try and clarify some of the language because some of the language has been pretty slippery.

“I don’t think it is enough to say that love is love.

“It is about love but there is only one form of love of the many forms of love that we call marriage and that is between a man and a woman supposedly lifelong and supposedly open to children.”

Archbishop Coleridge was asked: “Isn’t love a primary Gospel value? The Gospel treats everybody as equal?”

“I think it’s a primary Gospel value, but I’m not talking just as a believer,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“I am talking about as a human being and one who is concerned not just about my own community, but for the entire society and everyone in it, particularly those who are battling.

“It is a deeply human value. The love of a same-sex union is valuable; it’s just that it’s not marriage.

“See the question is ‘is it about equality?’ Well, yes and no. Every human being is equal but not are all the same.

“Human societies have always discriminated in deciding who can marry whom. I mean, parents can’t marry their children; children can’t marry their parents …”

Archbishop Coleridge said he considered the phrase “marriage equality” a brilliant piece of marketing.

“Because everyone’s kind of for marriage, and everyone’s kind of for equality. Put them together and you seem to have an irresistible combination,” he said.

“If you press the language a bit and ask a few more questions it’s not as irresistible as it first seems.

“I honestly don’t think this decision is about love or equality; it’s about love and equality in a way that has to be understood in ways that are more complex than much of the debate would suggest.”

Faced with polling which suggests a “Yes” outcome at end of the postal survey, Archbishop Coleridge said Catholics would make their own decision in conscience.

“There will be Catholics who vote yes and Catholics who vote no,” he said.

“I have certain responsibilities as a bishop and I’m trying to exercise those as sensitively and sensibly as I possibly can.

“So whichever way the vote goes I think the bishops are exercising their proper responsibility, but part of our responsibility is not to make up people’s minds.

“Catholic people can make up their mind and they will.

“My duty is to try and equip them as well as possible not only for themselves or the Catholic Church but the best decision for everyone in the entire community.”

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