A married couple in the Australian capital of Canberra have made headlines after announcing that they’ll get divorced if laws to allow same-sex couples to legally married are passed.
The Christian couple, Nick & Sarah Jensen, have been married for over 10 years, and told journalists that they have a happy and healthy marriage and no plans to separate. However, as a protest against same-sex marriage, they’ve announced that they will do just that if it becomes legalised in Australia.
“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,” wrote Mr Jensen, in an article published by a Canberra newspaper.
He continued: “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. This is why we are willing to divorce. By changing the definition of marriage, “marriage” will, in years to come, have an altogether different sense and purpose.”
Mr Jensen also wrote: “This has been a big decision for my wife and I. Some will accuse of us being bigoted or too hateful to share. But this couldn’t be further from our intentions. The truth is, “marriage” is simply too important. It is a sacred institution, ordained by God. It has always been understood to be that exclusive relationship where one man and one woman become “one flesh”. Any attempt to change the definition of marriage by law is not something in which we are able to partake.”
According to local media reports, Mr Jensen is director of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, a group which is involved with the Australian Christian Lobby.
The feedback on social media from Australian and international users was described as ‘vicious’, with many labelling Mr Jensen’s views as ‘antiquated’, ‘hypocritical’ and ‘frankly disgusting’. The controversy inspired Mr Jensen’s own brother, Soren, to pen his own response.
Soren Jensen had this to say: “You may have been made aware in the last 24 hours of my brother, Nick Jensen, and his statement that he will seek a divorce if homosexuals are allowed to marry. He has stated a very strong position against marriage equality. While I disagree strongly with him it is also his right to do so.”
He added: “The marriage equality movement leads with tolerance, understanding, compassion, inclusion and love, which should also be the role the Church is playing. Harness the energy this viral response has created and propel it towards positive change.”
The current Australian Government’s proposal to hold a vote on same-sex marriage on 11 February 2017 has been rejected by the Australian Senate. Following this result, Prime Minister Turnbull stated the government had “no plans to take any other measures on this issue”. It would appear that the Jensens’ marriage thus has no risk of ending in divorce anytime soon.