Marriage equality – what’s God got to do with it

Sat, 23 Sep 2017  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 website at this link: 


Marriage equality – what’s God got to do with it

The debate surrounding the survey on marriage equality is throwing up a range of issues that sit oddly with over 100 years of historical marriage patterns of heterosexual Australians.

Social media feeds, on line news, the radio, newspapers and television are heavy with people discussing the issue of marriage equality whose only real claim to be heard is their religious belief and their status within their church, synagogue, temple or other religious lobby group.

There are few, if any, declared atheists or marriage celebrants on these news and chat shows outlining their views on same sex marriage. This is despite there being more people of no religion than any other faith.

For some unknown reason, the overwhelming bias towards those with a religious affiliation promotes them to a point where they have a special status to pontificate as to whether people should vote yes or no to the marriage equality survey. Their views are getting a disproportionate coverage, including relative to how Australians are now choosing to get married.

For over 100 years, Australians getting married have been shying away from church based ceremonies and instead are opting for a marriage celebrant to allow them to legally tie the knot.

This alone should put the status of religious organisations and their spokespeople as authorities on the issue of marriage on very thin ice.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, just 25 per cent of marriages in 2015 were conducted by a minister of religion. This means that the other 75 per cent were conducted by a civil celebrant. This shows an overwhelming choice in favour of a non-religious service.

The 25 per cent of religious marriages is the lowest rate on record, with the data going back to 1902. There is no hint that the trend away from religion is slowing.

Interestingly, in the 1910s, over 95 per cent of marriages were conducted by a minister of religion. This was the peak use of religious services for those marrying. Since then, the trend away from religious services has been unrelenting and in 1999, civil marriages overtook religious ceremonies as the most common form of marriage.

Which begs the question of the authority of people of religion to have a dominant voice in the current discussion on marriage equality. There is no doubt the religious groups getting the coverage on the marriage equality issue are well funded and well organised with loyal supporters. Atheists and marriage celebrants, on the other hand, have no such organisational structure or financial power.

There are a few other quirky points about marriage in Australia.

Of people getting married in 2015, 28 per cent were getting remarried – ie, for a second or more time. This is against the teachings of most religions.

A massive 81 per cent of people getting married lived together before taking their vows. Another blow to the teachings of religion?

In 2015, of those getting married for the first time, there were 416 males and 1,464 females aged 16 to 18 years, with 495 males and 179 females aged over 75 years.

The two most popular months for marriages are October and March while the least popular are June and July.

And finally, the number of divorces rose 4.3 per cent in 2015, to over 48,000 with 47.5 per cent of those involving children under the age of 18. Unfortunately, this appears to be another blow for the religious push about the sanctity of the family.

Looks like when it comes to marriage, people are not only staying away from religious services in droves, but are also living a life of freedom, unshackled by the teachings and preachings of many religious faiths.

Think of that next time a person of religious appears in your news feed advocating a particular position in the survey on marriage equality.

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illion: Business forecasts bumper profits in 2018

Mon, 11 Dec 2017

The illion Business Expectations Survey presented a positive outlook for the economy.

Business profits expectations for 2018 are the highest they’ve been since 2011, with companies set to boost employee numbers in the first quarter on the back of the positive outlook, according to illion’s latest Business Expectations Survey.

Data from the survey indicated businesses operating in the Finance, Insurance and Real estate sector had the highest profit expectations approaching the new year, followed by the Transport, Communications and Utilities sector.  The survey shows that overall, the Business Expectations Index is up 25.7 percent on the same period last year and the actual performance of businesses across all sectors is at a 13 year high.

Stephen Koukoulas, illion Economic Adviser, said there were a number of factors driving the positive outlook for 2018. “Corporate profits are getting a boost from lower costs, which are being driven by record low interest rates and on-going low wages growth – which is all occurring at a time of solid gains in the ASX”.

Oz economy: The good, the bad and the ugly

Fri, 08 Dec 2017

This article first appeared on the Yahoo 7 Finance website at this link: 


Oz economy: The good, the bad and the ugly

The Australian economy continues to grow, but the pace of expansion remains moderate, being constrained by ongoing weakness in household spending and a slide in housing construction. The good news is further evidence of an upturn in private business investment and stronger growth in public sector infrastructure spending which is providing support for the economy.

At face value, 2.8 per cent annual GDP growth rate is quite good, but the devil in the detail on how that growth has been registered is why there are some concerns about the sustainability of the expansion as 2018 looms.

Household spending remains mired with growth of just 0.1 per cent in the September quarter. It seems the very low wage growth evident in recent years, plus data showing a small rise in the household saving rate, is keeping consumer spending in check.

Making up well over half of GDP, household spending will be the vital element of the economy into 2018. If wages growth remains weak, there seems little prospect of a pick up in household spending. And if household spending remains weak, bottom line GDP growth will be relying on a strong expansion in business investment and public sector demand.