AUSTRALIAN MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Media Statement
Thursday February 21st 2013

SAME-SEX CIVIL MARRIAGE EMBRACED BY FORMER OPPONENT OF REFORM LAWYER SAYS CAREFUL REFORM NEEDED TO ENSURE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND FAIRNESS FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS

In a cover article in today's Australian edition of the Spectator, John Heard says social conservatives and people of faith need not fear same-sex marriage.

Mr Heard had previously written and spoken out in defence of traditional and religious definitions of marriage. He now says he believes these need not be at risk from allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Instead he states, "those same-sex-attracted men and women who want to contract a civil marriage may represent an arrest in this decline (of marriage), a return to commitment and stability".

Commenting on his change of mind Mr Heard said,

"After many long years of discussion and consideration, and whereas I previously held a different view, it is important now to state clearly that I no longer oppose efforts to reform the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to provide for same sex civil marriage."

"I have always believed in the value of marriage and family and I have come to believe that the benefits and rigours of civil marriage and adoption should be extended to same sex attracted men and women."

Australian Marriage Equality National director, Rodney Croome, welcomed, Mr Heard's article saying it will encourage those social conservatives and people of faith who oppose marriage equality to reconsider their position.

"John's article challenges those Australians who believe in the benefits marriage bestows, to open their hearts to same-sex couples and their families sharing these benefits."

"John joins many other Australians who have come to support marriage equality and he gives me great hope more Australians, including our national leaders, will follow the same path."

Mr Heard said he hopes the Spectator article will put an end to the use of his former view to promote "an anti-reform agenda", and encouraged Australians to support reform.

"Inasmuch as some organisations and individuals continue to refer to my previous statements on this matter, and some persist in doing so despite written clarification from me, I now reiterate publicly what I have communicated privately. No one should use my name, image, or previous statements to promote an anti-reform campaign or agenda."

"I acknowledge with gratitude those interlocutors over the years who challenged me to reconsider civil marriage reform."

"I encourage all Australians to join together now to get the job done."

The article can be found here:
http://www.spectator.co.uk/australia/australia-features/8849571/aisle-of-plenty/

For more information call Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.
         

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