In February the ACT Legislative Assembly passed legislation, despite vigorous Opposition resistance, permitting the adoption of children by homosexual couples.
In October and February I attended protest rallies organised by Australian Christian Lobby: a non-denominational, politically non-partisan Christian lobby group. Estimated protesters at each rally were about 1,500.
As I watched enthusiastic evangelicals waving their protest banners I wondered where the tens of thousands of Catholics in Canberra were (estimated at about 90,000). Just a quarter of them present would have made political history here. Faced with such opposition in the electorate the proposed legislation would have been abandoned after the first protest meeting.
Confronted with this grave abuse of the most fundamental rights of vulnerable children, where do we stand as Catholics?
Last June the Holy See issued a document titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons". The document also addresses the issue of adoption of children by homosexual couples.
This four-page document is an excellent synthesis of the issues. Where homosexual unions (and, by implication, their adoption of children) have been legally recognised, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty for all Catholics (not just politicians). Moreover, we also have serious moral duties in respect of the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws.
In his ad limina address to our bishops in March, the Holy Father cogently warns of the threat in Australia to families (and therefore to society) of legal and social trends and attitudes and exhorts our bishops to ensure that the values of marriage and family life are supported.
As we approach Federal and ACT elections this year, let us pray that our bishops will continue to provide vigorous leadership on this matter, equipping and exhorting the laity to exercise their duty to publicly resist this gravely unjust legislation and the larger agenda behind it - legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons and the further erosion of the family in Australia.