Overseas Muslim marriages and Australian law

Two cases involving purported marriages under Islamic law, entered into overseas by Australian residents, have received recent press coverage.

The decisions of the courts involved seem to be clearly correct, and they helpfully illustrate some important principles of Australian law. A person whose home is Australia cannot legally travel outside this country and enter into a valid marriage with a minor, or enter into a second marriage when already lawfully married under Australian law. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster looks at the operation of Australian law and overseas marriages.

Update on 2016 Law and Religion issues and preview for 2017

Assoc Prof Neil FosterIt seems a good time of the year to take stock of the current status of some important Law and Religion issues discussed this year, and to flag some upcoming issues for the New Year.”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster provides a concise summary of some of the key issues in 2016, plus a heads-up on another Parliamentary Inquiry, this one into “the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief“.

Australian Christian Lobby headquarters in Canberra rammed by burning van

vehicle-via-lyle-sheltonThe headquarters of the Australian Christian Lobby… has been rammed by a burning van … 

The ABC understands the van was carrying gas bottles and that the driver of the vehicle was taken to Canberra Hospital for treatment.”

– Report from ABC News,

Update: Police rule out targeted attack‘ – SBS. Image via Lyle Shelton.

Three controversial Victorian bills defeated

victoria-mapFrom Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia:

A brief update on the status of some proposed Victorian legislation I have previously mentioned as being a bad idea. It is good to see that all three bills have been defeated in the Victorian Parliament.

Two of them would have interfered with the running of religious schools, as well as other religious organisations. The third would have created a range of problems in its interaction with Federal marriage law.”

Read the full post here.

Related: Freedom of association: sanity succeeds on Spring Street – Spectator.

Cornhill Sydney moves to Moore

gavin-perkinsIn what is great news for the training of preachers and Bible teachers in Sydney and beyond, Cornhill Sydney will relocate to the Newtown campus of Moore College from the start of 2017. This new location will facilitate closer partnership, with the common goal of better equipping men and women in Bible exposition, and especially those who are charged with the critical role of preaching…” – More good news from Moore College.

Same-sex marriage plebiscite bill blocked by Senate

parliament-houseThe Federal Government’s bid to hold a plebiscite on whether to legalise same sex marriage has been defeated in the Senate.

The proposal was voted down a short time ago in the Upper House 33 votes to 29.”

– report from ABC News.

Encouragement from the Pressies in Queensland

pres-life-issue-4-2016The latest issue (4/2016) of Pres Life, the magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Queensland, is now available. It’s a 1.6 MB PDF file.

Rejoice with those who rejoice at the Lord’s salvation in Christ, and join with them in praying for the progress of the gospel in that state.

Synod approves gay marriage booklet

bp-stead-synod-12-oct-2016Sydney Synod has expressed deep concern about moves to remove gender from the marriage act and has authorised the distribution of a booklet outlining  the consequences of same-sex marriage for families and society.

Debate on the third night of Synod was led by Bishop Michael Stead, who chairs the Archbishop’s Plebiscite Task Force and the Dean, Kanishka Raffel. …

‘… the Task Force was convinced of the need to provide resources for Sydney Anglicans. The booklet “what has God joined together?” is the first such resource. The booklet aims to engage, equip, and embolden Sydney Anglicans to be a part of the debate on same-sex marriage.’…”

full report from SydneyAnglicans.net.

Draft Australian Same Sex Marriage legislation unveiled

Assoc Prof Neil FosterToday the Federal Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, released an Exposure Draft of the legislation that would, if it were to pass the Federal Parliament, introduce same sex marriage to Australia- the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill. There is a good summary of the provisions of the legislation in a press release issued by the Attorney-General. This follows the introduction on 14 September 2016 of an enabling Bill to allow a plebiscite, a popular vote, on the matter to be put to the Australian public, the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016. That Bill has not yet received any substantive consideration by the Parliament.

Earlier today the leader of the Australian Labour Party Opposition, Bill Shorten, announced that his Party would be voting against the enabling Plebiscite Bill when it reaches the Senate…”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster takes a look at the draft Same Sex Marriage legislation.

John Howard and the Myths of the 2004 Marriage amendments

Assoc Prof Neil FosterThe debates over redefining marriage in Australia have acquired in recent years some high profile “myths” or, to use the modern parlance, “memes”, which are regularly repeated.

One of the most enduring is that the battle for same sex marriage is impeded by a supposedly shocking set of amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 which were made by conservative Prime Minister John Howard in 2004.

To take some recent quotes which illustrate the points:

“It was the Howard Government that in 2004 changed the Marriage Act to specifically refer to marriage being “the union of a man and a woman,” locking out any possibility to include gay couples in the definition without a change in the law.”

“[T[his weekend marks the twelfth anniversary of John Howard’s amendments to the Australian Marriage Act. You know, those amendments that didn’t require a plebiscite? Those amendments that made it a legal requirement for celebrants to remind champagne-tipsy wedding parties around the country that marriage was between a man and a woman at the exclusion of all others?

handbook-for-marriage-celebrantsThere are two ‘myths’ being presented here…”

At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster tackles two oft-repeated myths

Myth 1: the 2004 amendments redefined marriage” and “Myth 2: Celebrants reading out the words”.

Bishop of Ballarat declares support for same-sex marriage, despite Bible’s teaching – report

Bishop Garry Weatherill“Ballarat’s Anglican Bishop Garry Weatherill has declared his support for same-sex marriage and said he opposed the Federal Government’s proposed plebiscite on the issue. …

Bishop Weatherill told the ABC he supported ‘marriage equality’.

‘The local position of this particular bishop is for marriage equality,’ he said.

‘The Bible teaches marriage is for man and woman, that is pretty clear and that is our standard position.

But it is saying marriage is good for people and society, and I think whether or not we approve of same gender relationships, we want people to be in strong, monogamous and sustainable relationships that give harmony to their lives and to the community.’…”

ABC News report, 15 September 2016. Emphasis added.

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