The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has disputed the “unclear” result of the same-sex marriage postal survey because of the survey forms that weren’t returned.
Despite a resounding 61.6 per cent of the Australians who took part in the voluntary survey voting “yes”, Archbishop Anthony Fisher said he isn’t convinced by the 80 per cent turnout.
He told News Corp that because 20 per cent of people “abstained altogether” form the survey, support for same-sex marriage was only around 49 per cent.
“While people are talking about overwhelming support, it’s still not clear that it is overwhelming,” he said.
“What is clear is we are very divided over this issue and probably many others.
“The consensus in Australia is somewhat fractured.”
The Archbishop also dramatically claimed that if religious protections weren’t included in same-sex marriage legislation, churches’ and religious groups’ charity work may be adversely affected.
“I am quite sure that most of the people that ticked ‘yes’ were not thinking that they don’t want St Vincent de Paul not doing housing projects any more because they are a Catholic organisation, but that is the kind of consequence that can flow,” he told News Corp.
But marriage equality campaigners didn’t accept the Archbishop’s comments.
Under his logic, they said, only 30.5 per cent of Australians voted “no”.
“It is disappointing that Bishop Fisher is the only ‘no’ case leader ungraciously refusing to accept the result,” Equality Campaign spokesperson Clint McGilvray said.
The Equality Campaign’s Anna Brown added, “We have to remember that there have been many changes to our laws that are out of step with religious doctrine, such as legalising no-fault divorce and interracial marriage, and the sky hasn’t fallen in.
“Religious views are still taught in schools and expressed freely and religious charities continue their good work.”