'I don't': Christian Australian couple plans to divorce if gay marriage adopted

by Gregory Tomlin, |
A gay rights activist holds a placard during a rally supporting same-sex marriage, in Sydney, Australia May 31, 2015. Bill Shorten, leader of Australia's opposition Labour Party introduced a bill to legalise same-sex marriage on June 1, 2015, adding the backing of a major party to growing public support for the issue after last month's landmark 'yes' vote in Ireland. Shorten introduced the bill, the first by a leader of a major Australian political party, in the government-dominated lower house of parliament despite opposition from conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is not expected to allow it to come up for a vote. Picture taken May 31, 2015. | REUTERS/David Gray

CANBERRA, Australia (Christian Examiner) - An Australian couple married for 10 years may be getting a divorce, but not for irreconcilable differences or adultery. The Christian couple said divorce is in their future if Australia adopts same-sex marriage.

In an opinion editorial in the Canberra City News June 10, Nick Jensen wrote he and his wife, Sarah, have been in love since high school. The couple, he wrote, are happily married and Sarah is "the mother of our children, my perfect match."

But he said the two will divorce because they "refuse to recognize the government's regulation of marriage if its definition includes solemnization of same sex couples."

Jensen, who is director of Lachlan Macquarie Institute, a public policy organization aligned with the Australian Christian Lobby, said he acknowledges the move is a drastic means of illustrating the importance of marriage and he insists he and his wife will "continue to live together, hopefully for another 50 years."

"And, God willing, we'll have more children. We'll also continue to refer to each other as 'husband' and 'wife' and consider ourselves married by the Church and before God," Jensen wrote.

If our federal parliament votes to change the timeless and organic definition of marriage later on this year, it will have moved against the fundamental and foundational building block of Australian society and, indeed, human culture everywhere.

Jensen said he and his wife have planned this course of action to illustrate marriage as a "fundamental order of creation" and "part of God's intimate story for human history."

"Marriage is the union of a man and a woman before a community in the sight of God. And the marriage of any couple is important to God regardless of whether that couple recognizes God's involvement or authority in it," Jensen wrote.

Jensen cited in his column that the state showed no interest in marriage laws until 1753, when England, concerned with property and family inheritances, acted to regulate the practice. Before, he wrote, the church alone acted as the "official witness" to marriage to ensure the stability of the family and the welfare of children.

"This otherwise odd move of the State into marriage was ultimately permitted as long as it was seen as upholding a pre-existing societal good. Families, as the basic building block of communities, benefitted from the support and security of formal legislation," Jensen wrote.

"If our federal parliament votes to change the timeless and organic definition of marriage later on this year, it will have moved against the fundamental and foundational building block of Australian society and, indeed, human culture everywhere."

Jensen wrote many people will not understand his reason, but people of faith likely will. He said his views have implications for people of all faiths who uphold the traditional understanding of marriage.

Jensen concluded his column by echoing the words of Martin Luther, spoken at a key point in the Reformation when he was told he must change his views on the Gospel – salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – to align with the views of the Catholic Church.

"Here we stand, we can do no other, and I know we are not alone," Jensen wrote.

Jensen's brother, Soren, responded to his brother's article in an opinion editorial of his own June 11. Soren cited his profound disagreement with his brother and claimed he was in favor of "marriage equality" in Australia.

But, he wrote, he defended his brother's right to free speech and the free exercise of religion. Soren Jensen said his family had been ruthlessly attacked.

"Since then I have seen a passionate yet vicious response from the internet, my family and name insulted, lied about, speculation about his marriage and seen him called every name under the sun. He has chosen to make his marital status a personal target, so this is probably not unexpected. But know thy enemy and judge and attack the argument, not the man," Soren Jensen wrote.

He described his brother as a loving father and husband and "intelligent, compassionate and reasoned."

He also said Nick is a "man of deep religious beliefs and he lives by those truths."

"He is not a loony, a religious nut or any of the many other descriptions being thrown around. Nor is he a hateful person. He is an intelligent, reasoned man making an argument and a stand on his principles and his religious truth on this issue," Soren wrote.

Soren said the debate over same-sex marriage in Australia has deteriorated to the point that both sides are not listening to each other, and that runs contrary to the behavior he has seen in his brother, who listens and discusses but has not changed his mind. He said advocates of both positions should be making their voices heard.

Soren concluded his letter with an affirmation of love and respect for his brother.

"You speak from your truth and I speak for mine. And on this issue I believe you are wrong. It's time for marriage equality," Soren wrote.

Same-sex marriage in Australia is a source of intense political debate. A recent survey of Australian Parliament members claims same-sex marriage is not a certainty as many politicians are still gauging public opinion in the largely traditional country.