National Marriage Day is celebrated on 13 August each year to commemorate the passing of the Australian Federal Government's Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 which defined marriage as "the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life".
The Marriage Day Dinner was held in Sydney on 12 August and attended by 220 people of whom around one-third were under the age of 30. Among those in attendance was Cardinal George Pell, Kevin Andrews MHR, Major General Peter Philips and guest speaker, Dr Allan Carlson, who is General Secretary of the World Congress of Families (WCF).
National Marriage Day was established to celebrate natural marriage and to help renew a culture of marriage in Australia in this age of divorce. It provides an opportunity for those who believe in the importance of natural marriage to unite in a show of strength.
The National Marriage Coalition, including the Australian Family Association (AFA), supports and endorses a Marriage Benefit Pack which was launched at the National Marriage Day Dinner and includes seventeen different ways to strengthen the culture of marriage.
Dr Carlson, in his address, praised the Australian Government for its stance on natural marriage, which enabled it to avoid the often bitter "same-sex marriage debate" that has occurred in numerous other countries and American States.
However, he noted there were other avenues where marriage has been weakened, as with "abortion laws that ignore claims of the husband/father ... and the elimination of 'fault' in divorce proceedings."
Dr Carlson then alluded to "thousands of research projects in the fields of sociology, psychology, anthropology, and medicine [which] all testify to one truth: children do best when they are born into a married-couple home and raised by their two natural parents." The reasons are that as a general rule, people who are married eat better, are more mentally stable and live healthier lifestyles.
Present at the Dinner were numerous married couples, children, and religious, all demonstrating their support of the institution of natural marriage. Each was given a rosette of Ruby and Gold which is the emblem of National Marriage Day and to be worn as a "sign of love, fidelity, endurance and hope", according to Mary Louise Fowler, the Convenor of National Marriage Day.
Dr Carlson concluded his address with the observation that marriage as the cornerstone of society has withstood the test of Communist Russia following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the Nazis in Germany, and many other forms of organised tyranny.
Significantly, in order to establish their absolute power, the first things that tyrants attack are marriage and family since these represent independent forces for good.
Dr Carlson concluded with encouragement to "move on with confidence because human nature, innate human longings, human biology and human history are all on your side."
Kevin Andrews, the Shadow Minister for Families, also addressed the gathering and announced that the Coalition, if it became the next government, would offer a $200 voucher to engaged couples to help them with pre-marriage counselling to "support marriage." Mary Louise Fowler described this move as "the best news since the Marriage Act was passed in 2004."