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"It's not possible for a politician to promise that there will be no changes."
- Prof. Janet Epp-Buckingham


The changes no-one saw coming

"I can tell you, 12 years on after the definition of marriage was changed in Canada, there have been many consequential changes that no-one foresaw at the time," says Professor Janet Epp-Buckingham.

Professor Epp-Buckingham is the Director of the Laurentian Leadership Centre and an expert in on leadership in public policy, business and communications at Trinity Western University in Ottawa.

"Once the definition of marriage is changed, it does necessarily have an impact on other areas of the law," she says.

She points out that the legalisation of same-sex marriage has resulted in predictable changes, like the removal of the terms 'husband' and 'wife' on marriage certificates, through to much more significant developments.

"So it's not possible for a politician to promise that there will be no changes," Professor Epp-Buckingham cautions.

In Canada, there were limited changes in the first few years because the politicians who brought about the changes in law were able to maintain their commitments. However new elections have brought in legislators who have not felt bound by the promises of predecessors.

"We have had changes in government at the federal level and the provincial government, and so the people who may have made promises at the time the definition of marriage was changed are no longer there," she says. "They're no longer the ones making the laws."

Australia at the crossroads - how do we choose the right path?

Written by Sophie York

Sophie York is the National spokesperson for Marriage Alliance, an independent organisation which advocates the right of all Australians to freely support the current legal definition of marriage in Australia.

Marriage Alliance considers that this definition has served Australian families, society and culture well. It also considers that whenever major societal structural change is contemplated, the rights and freedoms of all possibly affected by the change, must be acknowledged and protected.

In her address at the Freedom for Faith Conference, Ms York examines case studies from overseas that offer an understanding of the direct and unforeseen experiences in other countries where same-sex marriage has been legalised.

Click here to listen to Ms. York's address, and explore with her the lessons that can be learned from other countries.


In accordance with s 6(5) of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017, this communication was authorised by Michael Kellahan of Sydney for Freedom for Faith.

Freedom for Faith is a legal think tank that protects and promotes religious freedom in Australia and beyond.

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