The Right Thing to Do: Australian Religion and the 2017 Same-Sex Marriage Debate

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The normalisation of LGBTIQ+ identity, including same-sex marriage, has become part of neoliberal orthodoxy. This cultural development is a problem for religions that have a heteronormative worldview and their relationship to the host society. The 2017 same-sex marriage debate included the participation of a wide range of Australian religious bodies, providing a rare opportunity to survey the place of religion in Australian society today. It showed that the religious order in Australia has been transformed since the 1970s, when the process of decriminalising homosexuality began. It demonstrated that Australian religion is now a flourishing diversity of increasingly sectarian minority faiths and beliefs. Religious voices continue to make an important contribution to the public conversation on social policy and ethics. However, the re-shaping of Australian religion complicates their participation. Those who interpret and respond to the public conversation need to be intentionally attentive to the whole range of religious voices, not just the loudest ones.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion Matters
Subtitle of host publicationThe Contemporary Relevance of Religion
EditorsPaul Babie, Rick Sarre
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-15-2489-9
ISBN (Print)978-981-15-2488-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Religion in Australia
  • Normalization of LGBTIQ+ identity
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Neoliberalism
  • Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey


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