The call for a ‘No’ vote

Dubbo Photo News - - Front Page - By NATALIE HOLMES

WESTERN Plains Bap­tist Fel­low­ship Pas­tor David Ben­nett re­turned his Aus­tralian Mar­riage Law Postal Sur­vey on the same day it was re­ceived, vot­ing ‘no’ to the pro­posal.

Along with his re­li­gious beliefs, Pas­tor Ben­nett has other rea­sons for his op­po­si­tion to the ques­tion­naire and his feel­ings to­wards ho­mo­sex­ual peo­ple is not one of them.

“I know peo­ple who are ho­mo­sex­ual and I am happy to sit and have a cof­fee with them, they are peo­ple,” he said.

How­ever, like many Chris­tians, Pas­tor Ben­nett be­lieves that mar­riage should just be between a man and a woman and the govern­ment shouldn’t be putting for­ward an al­ter­na­tive.

“I’m of the opin­ion that gov­ern­ments should just stay out of it. Some­times gov­ern­ments shouldn’t be in­vested in a sit­u­a­tion. In the United States, where I grew up, any­body could per­form a mar­riage in some states. Then same sex mar­riage be­came a con­sti­tu­tional right.”

Pas­tor Ben­nett agrees with the Aus­tralian Chris­tian Lobby and the Mar­riage Coali­tion in not sup­port­ing the le­gal union of same sex cou­ples.

“It af­fects many other ar­eas of so­ci­ety, in­clud­ing parenting and school­ing,” he said.

Pas­tor Ben­nett is also con­cerned by the word­ing of the ques­tion which asks: ‘Should the law be changed to al­low same-sex cou­ples to marry?”

“I would have worded it ‘Do you agree to change the Mar­riage Act? If it’s a ‘yes’ vote, what other things will it al­low in mar­riage, such as polygamy? It does open it up to all sorts of things.

Spir­i­tu­al­ity aside, Pas­tor Ben­nett’s big­gest con­cern is how the sur­vey is be­ing con­ducted and whether it will ac­tu­ally have any le­gal bear­ing.

“If we have a change of govern­ment, what hap­pens? Other than say­ing who wants it and who doesn’t, this isn’t a piece of leg­is­la­tion. It’s not a ref­er­en­dum. If the no’s get it, it doesn’t mean it won’t change.

“All it does is tell us where peo­ple stand, do they have a con­science vote later?

The $122 mil­lion cost of the postal vote is of ma­jor con­cern to many peo­ple and Pas­tor Ben­nett agrees that the money could have been used else­where.

“It’s not just the money, I just don’t know what pur­pose it serves. Even if I wasn’t a be­liever, I would still think the same thing. Even if I wasn’t a Chris­tian, I would be look­ing at this as an un­nec­es­sary ac­tion and it’s an amount that could be used else­where. If it’s real money, then it came from the tax­payer and it could be used against the deficit. I don’t think even the politi­cians know where the money goes. They re­ally should put the money some­where else.”

“I think that’s an is­sue. They just need to leave it alone and have it recog­nised as a civil union.

“If we are do­ing any­thing, we ought to be strength­en­ing the fam­ily.”

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS/SARAH HAR­VEY

Pic­tured is Pas­tor David Ben­nett who voted no in the same sex mar­riage sur­vey and en­cour­ages oth­ers to do the same.

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