Bishop of Armidale Michael Kennedy responds to outrage over vote "no" marriage equality letter

MORE than 75 per cent of people think schools should not promote a view on marriage equality, a Fairfax Media poll has found.

VOTE NO: Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Armidale Michael Kennedy explains letter urging parents to vote "no" on marriage equality.

VOTE NO: Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Armidale Michael Kennedy explains letter urging parents to vote "no" on marriage equality.

The poll attracted more than 400 responses, with people overwhelmingly against schools taking sides in the debate.

Parents were outraged after a letter urging them to vote “no” on marriage equality was sent home with Catholic school students in the local area.

Bishop of the Diocese of Armidale Michael Kennedy said he feels it is his responsibility to make the teachings of the Catholic church clear.

“I judged the present national discussion around marriage to be such an instance,” Reverend Kennedy said.

“It is natural that my communication with the Catholic community would involve our school communities which includes parents and guardians.

“Our Catholic schools are proudly a part of the Catholic community, and the rest of the Catholic community is proud of them.”

The Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey letter was sent to members of the church and parents of school children.

The Catholic church teaches that marriage is a covenant by which a man and a woman establish a partnership for the whole of life for their mutual well-being and for the purpose of founding a family.

“Homosexual persons must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity,” Reverend Kennedy wrote in the letter.

“The postal survey on marriage now asks our nation this important question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

“My own love and respect for my homosexual friends does not prevent me from voting “no” to this question.”

Reverend Kennedy wrote that in Western countries similar to Australia that have changed the definition of marriage – those that have resisted marriage equality have been bullied and harassed.

“There is every reason to believe the same would happen in our own country,” Revered Kennedy wrote.

The letter was sent on September 15.