The same-sex marriage debate is igniting in Australia in some very unexpected ways.
There are those for and against, but there are few in the ‘against’ camp quite as fervent as Nick and Sarah Jensen. The married, Christian couple have vowed to get divorced if same-sex marriage is legalised in their country.
Mr Jensen has publicly vowed that if marriage were to be granted a new definition by the introduction of same-sex marriage into the legal lexicon, they would no longer wish to partake of the institution of marriage.
In an op-ed piece for the Canberra City News magazine, Mr Jensen writes:
Our view is that marriage is a fundamental order of creation. 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 recognises God’s involvement or authority in it. My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnisation of same-sex couples.
The magazine’s editor has issued the disclaimer that the Jensens’ views do not reflect the magazine’s, while believing the op-ed offers ’an interesting angle’ on the topic. Others clearly feel it is the very definition of ’cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face’ – especially given that Mr Jensen states the following: ’after our divorce, we’ll 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’.
In act two of the saga, an old school friend of Nick Jensen has come out of the woodwork to declare publicly that Jensen is uninvited from her (heterosexual) wedding. The school friend in question, Annie Haggar, has also pointed out that the Jensens might find it difficult to show that their marriage had irreparably broken down, as would be required by Australian law, while simultaneously continuing to live together as a de facto married couple.
Social media was not kind to the Jensens’ assertions. One responder, American radio presenter and LGBT activist Jared Smith wrote: ’A married couple in Australia says they’ll divorce if gay marriage is legalized, which is like going on a diet b/c poor people have food’. Australian disability rights advocate, Craig Wallace, wrote wryly: ’If gay marriage is legalised and that couple get divorced, then I’m going to stop watering my garden on Wednesdays for a year…#consequences’.
The Australian parliament is likely to vote on the issue of same-sex marriage by the end of 2015.