In response to last night’s post, a reader says:
I just read your article about gay rights, it came up on my news feed.
I just thought you might want to incorporate one of the main differences between Australia and America in relation to gay rights: the fact that America is a very religious country. A huge percentage of people rating themselves “deeply religious”.
Australia is one of the least religious countries in the world. 28% of Australians see themselves as not at all religious, with religious practices and beliefs barely featuring in their lives. 44% of Australians say they consider themselves religious but that religion does not play a central role in their lives.
48% of Australians do not pray and 52% never or very seldom visit a church, mosque, synagogue or temple for religious reasons. I found those stats from an international survey carried out by the European Bertelsmann Foundation.
And considering Australia is one of the least religious countries in the world, and really the only reason to not allow gay marriage is a religious argument, it makes Australia look pretty bad that it doesn’t allow gay marriage.
I am not sure that everyone would agree that the religious argument is the only one to be made against gay marriage — most anti-gay marriage advocates would argue that they are defending a social institution, not a religious one.
Most importantly, there is a religious argument to be made in favour of gay marriage, as well as a socially conservative one. For examples of each, take two British Prime Ministers: former PM Tony Blair, the famous defender of religion, and current PM David Cameron, who led the Conservatives to victory for the first time in almost 20 years:
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism in 2007, is backing the Government’s plan to legalise same-sex marriage before 2015.
The proposal has drawn sharp criticism from leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.
According to The Independent on Sunday, Blair has told friends that he “strongly supports the Prime Minister’s proposal” to enact a new law to make gay marriage legal.
Mr Cameron said on Wednesday: ‘We’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. To anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment.
‘Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.’