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An Open Response from Nick Jensen’s brother

HerCanberra Team

YESTERDAY, THE CITY NEWS COVER FEATURED AN ARTICLE ON NICK JENSEN AND HIS WIFE SARAH, WHO THREATENED TO DIVORCE IF MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS INTRODUCED. IT’S BEEN A ROCKY COUPLE OF DAYS FOR HIS BROTHER, SOREN JENSEN. THIS IS HIS RESPONSE.

An Open Response. If you have read the article regarding Nick Jensen, please feel free to share on.

My name is Soren Jensen and I strongly support Marriage Equality. My brother does not.

You may have been made aware in the last 24 hours of my brother, Nick Jensen, and his statement that he will seek a divorce if homosexuals are allowed to marry. He has stated a very strong position against marriage equality. While I disagree strongly with him it is also his right to do so.

Since then I have seen a passionate yet vicious response from the Internet, my family and name insulted, lied about, speculation about his marriage and seen him called every name under the sun. He has chosen to make his marital status a personal target, so this is probably not unexpected. But know thy enemy and judge and attack the argument, not the man.

First let me address the man. My brother is a loving father and husband, in a beautiful supportive marriage, a man of deep religious beliefs and he lives by those truths. He is intelligent, educated, compassionate and reasoned. In our debates over this issue, and you can imagine our Christmas conversations, he has always been open to listening, to countering and to engaging in a frank and open debate on the topic. Nick has used his democratic right of free speech to state his point, and to publicly say that if there is a change in the legislation from the government on marriage he considers this a breach of contract and his marriage agreement with the state should be annulled. He is not a loony, a religious nut or any of the many other descriptions being thrown around. Nor is he a hateful person. He is an intelligent, reasoned man making an argument and a stand on his principles and his religious truth on this issue.

But his statement has hurt people. He is actively involved in the Australian Christian Lobby and this is their moment in the sun on the issue. And the internet has responded accordingly. But sadly most of the comments have been vicious lies, insulting attacks, accusations and ridicule. Perhaps this is deserved. But the level of hate and nastiness, in my mind, is the equivalent of the extremists yelling “Fags must die”. I have read the attacks on him, and his children and shame on those who attacked my niece and nephews and include them in this argument. If both sides resort to name calling and nasty attacks, what can possibly be achieved? Both are guilty of this and it serves nothing and no one.

I’m sad at how this debate can deteriorate, blame on both sides. Clearly each side is passionate and fervent in their reasoning. And each should appreciate there are good people on both sides who have very deep beliefs. But I’m disappointed by the belittling, name-calling and stunts from both sides. We can be better.

I disapprove of what my brother has said, but I will defend to the death his right to say it. And your right to respond. But let’s do so in a way that is constructive.

The movement of marriage equality, at its core, is about love, tolerance, understanding, inclusion and equality. You have read and are very aware of the religious right’s arguments. They are not new, more than likely they will not be changed, and my brother is not alone in these thoughts.

I invite our equality movement to rise above, to engage, and to argue passionately against it. For I believe this line of argument does not represent the majority of views in Australia at this time. And I believe, with hope, in the Australia of inclusion, of free speech, in a wish for a country without racism, sexism or homophobia. Where regardless of race, age, sex, religion or sexuality, you have a voice, you are respected, welcomed, included and represented in our national debates on issues that affect all Australians.

This is a free country, and this issue can and has divided families, friends, communities and the country. We must respect everyone’s right to express themselves, and aim to do so as passionately and respectfully as possible. And reserve our right to disagree and counter equally as passionately as possible. Hate brings hate, love is always stronger.

So I invite you if you have seen this article and are affected by it, not to sling insults on social media, but to get proactive. Write to your MP’s and representatives. Tell them that the church should not be allowed to dictate and has no claim on the definition of marriage in the modern age. That our marriage act is currently discriminatory to those citizens who love each other and want this recognized as equals to all others. If you are Christian and you do not share the beliefs of my brother then write to the ACL and tell them they do not speak for you. If you support his reasoning, also write to these same people and say that. You are entitled for your voice to be heard, just as my brother is. But equality is the stronger argument. The marriage equality movement leads with tolerance, understanding, compassion, inclusion and love, which should also be the role the Church is playing. Harness the energy this viral response has created and propel it towards positive change.

The time is now. This country is finally having an open debate on this issue, all voices should be heard, and then the obvious decision should be made. It is time for Australia to join the rest of the world in embracing marriage equality. And my brother should too.

I love and respect you brother. You speak from your truth and I speak from mine.

And on this issue I believe you are wrong.

It’s time for marriage equality.

Soren Jensen

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  • James Ellis

    Søren, thank you for your response.
    I too have been disheartened by the way people have debated – all insult and no substance.
    My big issue with Nick’s plan two fold:
    1. Thinking that his marriage is being changed or altered by the introduction of marriage equality, and
    2. Thinking that after entering marriage (a voluntary union entered into for life) can just be exited easily with no separation. No Judge is going to allow it.

  • Helene Jermolajew

    Excellent article Soren, I agree with you completely on all counts. May the discussion be short and may equality reign. As people are being asked to think about the equality of our indigenous people and the future referendum on the inclusion of our indigenous in our constitution in the name of equality, this may be a good time for society to think about all the areas where there is still inequality in our country, equality of marriage is one of those areas.

  • disqus_pzHTw4mxHk

    how about you dont tell me to be polite to a man doing damage to a minority I belong to? Hows about you consider whether your voice is needed in a discussion that doesnt actually effect you. No, marriage equality, does not effect you. No one has said your bigoted brother doesnt have a ‘right’ to speak, (and by the way we don’t have freedom of speech in Australia – you can be fined for saying something racist and holocaust-deniers have lost their jobs, for example) but has criticised what he’s said. No one should be attacking his kids. Its a case of – he started it. His comments devalue the unions that have raised hundreds of kids in this country. So keep the kids out of it and cop all the other shit, because with the queer youth suicide rate as it is his comments are literally killing people.
    Yet its not queer youth heard here, its bigots and relatives of bigots.
    As always, the voices that get drowned out in conversations that affect us are queer people’s.
    Don’t tell me, or us, how to deal with the offense on our relationships and identites that we experience every day. Our job isnt to convince you of anything. these sides arent equal. People like your brother are hurting us, and we will respond how we need to.

    • HOWS ABOUT

      “Hows about”… Classic. Sir, your arguement lost ALL credibility at the beginning of the second sentence. You’re done.

      • quiltmichigan

        Look out! The grammar police are in the room! Your condescension is a bore.

      • MrsE

        Oh God, you’re right! The use of an expression you don’t like completely destroys the point he was making! You’ve completely convinced me!

    • Sacredright

      Queer you are in every sense of the word!

      • quiltmichigan

        So?

  • Jude Byrne

    He simply cant be compassionate and reasoned even brotherly love cant make that true

    • Soren Jensen

      In all areas but this issue, where he is blinded by religious doctrine.

  • Simon Hunt

    Dear Soren – I can see your heart’s in the right place, but I’m sorry, don’t set up your brother as a victim and or try and find equivalence in his experience of the backlash. He’s speaking from a place of absolute privilege. His cheap divorce stunt, aimed at devaluing our relationships, is based on his feeling that he has that right to throw that privilege in our faces. He deserves no respect for this.

    • Soren Jensen

      He is not a victim, He has taken his stance and must face the consequences. The equivilence to extremism I refer to are some comments made around the physical harming of them and his children. How does that serve anyone. That was the equivilence I was making. But a reasoned passionate opposition to his statement, well warrented and absolutely supported by me. And I agree the argument deserves no respect. Nor should it have been given the coverage that it has. It is illogical and not legally viable and inflamatory discrimination.

      • Simon Hunt

        Yes, threatening physical harm to people’s families is wrong, and people need to channel their anger – some of us try and use humour, which is why your brother is being buried in satire and memes. Those of us who are LGBTI and have kids know a lot about threats to families – your brother’s ACL attack LGBTI parents; they support the right of private schools to expel LGBTI kids; they attack public school programs that protect LGBTI kids, they televise videos that portray our children crying at the thought of having same-gender parents; they drag single parent families and adopted children into their net of devaluation when they’re attempting to push their obsessive anti-gay wheelbarrow … but I’m sure you know all this 🙂 It’s where much of the anger comes from. In this context, the absurdity of your brother’s statements are actually useful for our communities, in that it gives us an opportunity to let off some steam in a comic way.

      • Debbie

        I agree with your last three sentences, and that is why I see no evidence that your brother is “intelligent, educated, compassionate and reasoned.” We have no reason to take your word for it, when he is providing such clear evidence to the contrary. His vindictive stance, while it will have no effect, was INTENDED to have an effect that would be devastating to so many LGBT Australians and their families. That is why he is being both ridiculed and reviled.
        OBVIOUSLY no-one should be saying anything threatening or ill-wishing against his children (not least of all because they will already have to deal with the religious zealotry of their parents). But when it comes to your brother, he is not, as you would advocate others do, sticking to attacking opposing arguments. He is not merely putting forward a flawed argument. He is actively trying to prevent legal equality, and he is choosing to make this personal, by pretending that other people’s rights should be granted, or not, on the whim of his religious convictions.

        • pnpnpn

          I can see, as some have, wishing that his actions will cause his childrne to experience the same type of pain the children of same sex unmarried couples have had to endure – through no fault of their own. (It will likely do just the opposite of what Nick want s- by making his kids sympathetic to the same sex marriage cause.) But that isn’t exactly a threat – more pointing out consequences of HIS actions.

      • pnpnpn

        You know what Soren, I’m not seeing these “threats to his kids” you claim. Though I understand you don’t want to promote them, I’m calling false flag. Some of it may be simply trolls with no real interest in either side of the argument just causing trouble. However, I wouldn’t put it past these people (Christian zealots, including your brother and his wife) to be the ones posting them for sympathy – has this crossed your mind?

  • Blah

    Im sorry but based on this little insight I disagree that your brother is a loving, compassionate, intelligent, educated reasoned person – these are the comments of a hateful religious nut, claiming free speech as grounds to surreptitiously vilify a group of people that suffer higher rates of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide, because of attitudes like his. They should be called out for what they are, vile. He started it and should face the music, how does he think it feels for gay people to face abuse overtly and covertly, like he is now experiencing for their whole lives, for years?

    • Soren Jensen

      You can disagree all you want, you dont know him. I love him, just disagree very strongly on this belief. You’ve never respect and liked someone but debated their beliefs with them?

      But I understand your justification for this statement based on the little you know of his, and all you have is this statement. And on that it is a justified belief.

      • Ben Harker Smith

        I knew him, and I would say that he would THINK he’s those things, and to some extent he is, but his actions have shown that he can also be the other side of those coins when it servers him to be so!

      • Debbie

        “You’ve never respect and liked someone but debated their beliefs with them?”

        Of course, but I’ve also rightfully lost respect for someone who tries to deny equal rights to others. And that IS your brother’s intention.

      • slavicdiva

        I’m from the US. About a decade ago, a close friend lost his job, and has never been employed full-time since. He started hanging out on gun-nut message boards, and over the years has become a rabid right-winger. He has espoused every nutty thing those people spew – except for same-sex marriage; he’s actually for it.

        Still, he posts about 50 “hate Obama” things every day on his Facebook and stands by them even when they’re proven to be untrue, and even when they’re ludicrous and make him look stupid. It is painfully obvious to my husband and me that his hatred is race-based and wholly irrational; so much so that many of our mutual friends now want nothing to do with him. We have not un-friended him because we actually do care for him, and worry about his mental health (he has a history of clinical depression). So we refute the lies and have gotten him to retract some of the more toxic things he has stated.

        So yes – I have disagreed with someone I have otherwise loved. But honestly, I miss my friend. I keep hoping that he’s still in there somewhere, and that he might emerge again once the hatred has burned off, if it ever does. But even though we care for him, we have lost respect for him because so much of what he believes is both false and ugly. We also can see why others avoid him, and really can’t argue their point at all.

        Perhaps you are in a similar boat with your brother. Of course nobody should be threatening his children. Of course his article was a cheap publicity stunt, and with any luck, his 15 minutes of infamy will be over soon. But his rationale does strike me as seriously immature – we have been married for 16 years. Every day, somewhere in the world, other people get married. Those other marriages have had no effect upon ours. Your brother seems to think that, by threatening to get divorced, he can stop other people from disagreeing with him – just like a child does when he threatens to hold his breath until he turns blue.

        You want to get divorced, get divorced. You want to stay married, stay married. But stop using other people and their desire for marriage as an excuse for destroying your own.

      • Dale Norbeck

        youre defending this statement too Soren?
        “My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of adoption if it is to include rights for gay couples to raise children.”

        “How can we, as good Christians, look to raise children of our own, knowing that a gay couple round the corner are doing the exact same thing in the eyes of the law?”

        “Therefore we took the sad decision to kill our children if the government continues its backing of gay rights to include the right to raise children.”

        “We do not take this step lightly, and nor do we ask other good Christians to follow in our footsteps, just know what we could not in good conscience raise children in eyes of the lord knowing that gays have ruined this for everyone.”

        • pnpnpn

          satire site

      • pnpnpn

        When their beliefs lead them to do very, very hateful things that harm many others? I suggest you go read Hannah Arendt – Eichman in Jerusalem and her description of HImler. Or better yet Bennett’s excellent comparison. hIf you want to continue to support him qua brother – a private realtionship – then do so, privately. When you try to pull this false analogy publicly, you lose all erspect yourself, Soren. http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/jfb/huckfinn.pdf

    • Robert Davidson

      Vilifying someone as a “religious nut” is not helping your argument

      • Fatima Hassan

        Religious nut is just a mild pejorative for a religious fanatic, which is, by definition: a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.

        Based on his extremely vocal declaration to undergo a divorce, a process that he himself admits he has not taken lightly, in the name of his religious views, I’d say he qualifies.

        If anyone has “vilified” him as a religious nut, it’s he himself.

        Besides, Ben didn’t brand him as a religious nut. He specifically said that he SOUNDS like a religious nut, and the other guy said his words were that of a religious nut. Hardly a vilification. Seems fairly sugar-coated to me.

        Are you actually trying to draw a parallel between the vilification of homosexuals for no other reason than their personal sexual preferences, and the vilification of bigots, who are vilified precisely because of their bigotry?

        • Robert Davidson

          I just think if you’re going to advocate for non-vilification of a group, it’s not a good look to then vilify another group (not on the basis of their bigotry but on the basis of their religion, as the term “religious nut” implies).

          • pnpnpn

            religion is a choice, bigotry is a choice; sexual orientation, like skin color is not. You are committting the logical fallacy of false equivalence, Robert.

          • Robert Davidson

            Aargh just stop stereotyping will you?

          • Robert Davidson

            Bigotry against someone based on their religion is a choice. The best way to fight bigotry is to be empathetic, not to do more bigotry.

      • pnpnpn

        OK, religious extremist.

  • Stuart Buss

    By all means get divorced. Just be aware that Prime Minister Abbott, as a Catholic, will regard you as fornicating adulterers should either of you ever remarry. You see, from the Catholic perspective, not only is same sex marriage wrong, but divorce also. And those who divorce and remarry are considered to be adulterers. The Bible clearly states that adulterers will burn in the fires of hell. So to summarize, Mr Abbott considers remarriage of divorcees to be an abomination and a mortal sin. An don’t even think about co-habitation. Have fun.

  • Dear Soren, I find your analogy between ‘extremists yelling “Fags must die”‘ and the LGBT community responding to your brother more than offensive.

    Gays have done nothing to hurt those extremists yelling abuse at them.

    But your brother and the Australian Christian Lobby have been spreading hatred and lies, and undermining our basic human rights for years now.

    It’s great that you support marriage equality, but if you can’t see the damage caused to the physical and mental wellbeing of the LGBT community by people like your brother and the Australian Christian Lobby, you still have a long way to go.

    I know he is your brother and you love him, but make no mistake what he has done is an idiotic publicity stunt that demeans the very institution he pretends to protect and every loving relationship.

    If, as you say, he is not a loon or religious nut, he is certainly doing an excellent impersonation. Asking to respect his views is akin to asking us to respect the views of racists who would support slavery or would wish to prevent marriage between people of different races or to respect the views of people who would still like to see women as property and deny them the right to vote. Until not long ago the same book your brother bashes us with was used to support those abhorrent views. Unless you are willing to express respect for people who hold such views, don’t dare to ask us to respect your brother.

    Enough is enough. He may be ‘entitled’ to speak his bigoted, hateful mind, but he is not entitled to our respect.

    My partner and I have been ‘proactive’ during the 17 years of our loving relationship, trying to bring about change so our relationship would receive the recognition it deserves only to be thwarted time and time again by the uninformed bigotry, hate and homophobia of people like your brother and the Australian Christian Lobby.

    After 17 years, we are out of respect and patience for people like your brother …

    • Soren Jensen

      Hi Stephen. Thanks for your response. For the most part I heartily agree with you. I would never silence anyone condemning this attack on them, and I’m sorry my response came across like that. My comments were to the extremists I’ve seen wishing pain and hurt on my brothers children in retaliation. Surely you dont agree with those statements. And it was to those that the comparision was being made. It was those which I was addressing for respect of the human who is behind these comments. But for those making justified, reasoned and passionate dispute against what my brother said. Have at thee. Absolutely. With my full support.

      But yes, I agree with the rest of your statements. He has put a discriminating view out there, and deserves all the condemnation he is recieving. And I’m sorry this has hurt you, and yes I see the damage, it was the reason I spoke out as best I could. and I wish to fight the ACL as hard as you do. I also believe them to be a very destructive force.

      And I didnt say respect his views, perhaps respect his right to have them. And he must respect everyone elses right to dismiss and ridicule them. I agree it was a bad publicity stunt with very little recourse. I’m supporting the man I know he is, not the ridiculous stand he has taken.

      Again, my apologies for the misinterpretation. I stand with you in nearly everything you have said here. This was my attempt to take the negetive energy created, people outside of the LGBT who have not been fighting this their whole life, and turn it into positive action by writing to those who can make the change in our politicians and tell them the church has no claim on our definition of marriage as a nation.

      So yes, please know, by me, your expression of opposition, especially how well you have stated it here, is completely supported by me. Here is hoping for a better tomorrow for you and yours Stephen.

      • Marcia Wilson

        Very well said and I am sorry this lash-out is affecting his children–who should not be punished for this! But I have personally witnessed short-sighted hatred from all groups in Humanity–no one is exempt and the notion that any is ‘above’ pettiness overlooks the point. We are not. The children did not write his statement–likewise I am sorry your family is feeling this. It doesn’t solve anything but it sure does fuel hate.

        • Ben Harker Smith

          While I agree that his kids should not be targeted by hate, is it not of his own doing? Nick would of known his kids would become targets for the less scrupulous and yet he decided to post that article anyway, HE put his family in the firing lines, and then when other take the shots at them, that again they don’t deserve, he can just wash his hand of that responsibility?

          • Pseudonym

            “While I agree that his kids should not be targeted by hate, is it not of his own doing?”

            No, it’s not. I read what he wrote, and nothing that he said either invited or justified threats of violence against his children. It’s hard to see how anything at all could justify threats of violence against children.

            What Nick said was his responsibility and his responsibility alone. How other people respond is their responsibility and theirs alone.

            Passions do run high, so yes, I suppose this was inevitable. But “you knew it would happen” isn’t exactly a helpful response, either.

            If a strong, opinionated woman dares to express an opinion on the Internet, the misogyny brigade tends to fire threats of violence back against her and her family (if she has one). She knew that would happen, right? We all know that this happens. Is it, therefore, of her own doing?

            The thing that I agree with Soren most about is that those of us who are in favour of equality should be better than this. We are on the side of love-not-hate, aren’t we? Not only shouldn’t we be sending threats of violence directed at children, we shouldn’t be excusing threats of violence directed at children either.

            That would be victim-blaming, and last time I checked, I’m pretty sure we’re against that, too.

          • Ben Harker Smith

            I never said it was his sole responsibility, but he has to take some of that blame for putting them in that position, should people make those treats, of cause not! Does he now have to come to terms with the fact he put his family in the position to receive threats, of cause!

            I personally know Nick, and would never want his family threatened but he must of know fringe voices, and people who do this for “fun”, would.

            Its a shame we live in a world with those kinds of people but we have to be mindful of them, even when we should’t have too.

            If anything at all HE should be the target of hate (not that I would support that either) but he pushed his family on to the front lines and he should own up to that

            Also if it was victim blaming I would be Blaming Nicks kids, not Him

          • Fatima Hassan

            It’s really neither here nor there if some trolls spewed some venom at him, regarding his family or not. Nobody is going to do anything to him or his kids, and people on the Internet will say things. That’s what they do.

            Christians in Australia are hardly in a position to fear violence from their dissenters, so pardon us if we don’t feel a sense of humility in the face of these alleged threats. Any such threats are not a reflection of real danger for Nick and his family. You may have just written an eloquent admonishment to a -handful- of edgy teenagers who are exalting in their anonymity for some Id-liberating fun. I’ve seen this story posted on three different forums and haven’t seen a single threat in the comments. Not saying they don’t exist but they’d be FAR from a representative sample.

            I suspect these so-called threats are overblown but that’s my opinion. I highly doubt there’s a militant community of homosexuals cleaning their rifles in preparation for a possible Christian massacre, or even discussing as much among themselves. In any event, it’s making a mountain of a molehill and it’s a trifling misdirection from the issue. Yes, threatening children is bad. The few trolls who disagree don’t really warrant a public denunciation, as if a significant section of the pro-LGBT lobby were complicit.

            I completely understand Soren’s motivation for addressing it but I give it as much credence as I would “death threats” toward Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.

          • Soren Jensen

            Hi Alejandro. I saw enough to make me angry enough to respond. And maybe it was just trolling, but it made me angry enough to want to protect my family. But I have never asked anyone to be silent, and encouraged open debate, and even ridule and condemnation. And this was simply my fb status that got picked up, shared around, and was asked to be shared on this site. I think everyone, especially the LGBT can respond how they feel they need to. It was simply an invitation. And I’m sorry if you took offence to it, none was intended.

          • Fatima Hassan

            Like I said, I understand and respect your position and it shouldn’t even take much to make you angry enough to respond when it comes to your family. But that’s you, that’s your understandable bias. I just see it as commonplace and don’t believe for a second that your family is in danger.

            And no, nothing you’ve said has offended me. I think you’re doing the Lord’s work! Har har har.

          • Danni

            I really think it is a good argument actually. We live in a world of trolls and people (especially people in the spotlight) are targeted by them, we now raise our children to know about them because they’re becoming worse and worse, I have personally received death threats, threats of rape and other violence, for no reason other then I work in a gay club, but as a member of the queer community I have accepted that this will happen. So when a grown man decided to put a very contravertial statement in a freaking news paper he must have thought before hand ‘maybe this will piss people off, or give some sad trolls something to troll…’
            Really, if he thought that he wouldn’t get any backlash from this then he is an idiot.
            So while I don’t think children should ever be threatened, I do agree that it’s trolls and he should have thought about if he was strong enough to deal with the backlash before stating such an oppinion.

          • Dale Norbeck

            this is from the same couple in another article.. still want to defend him? you say his kids arent involved in this?

            “My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of adoption if it is to include rights for gay couples to raise children.”

            “How can we, as good Christians, look to raise children of our own, knowing that a gay couple round the corner are doing the exact same thing in the eyes of the law?”

            “Therefore we took the sad decision to kill our children if the government continues its backing of gay rights to include the right to raise children.”

            “We do not take this step lightly, and nor do we ask other good Christians to follow in our footsteps, just know what we could not in good conscience raise children in eyes of the lord knowing that gays have ruined this for everyone.”

          • Michael Smalley

            “Kill our children?” He actually said that? Soren, you made a very reasoned and articulate response but this is horrifying. I think the local government should see this article and take steps to remove their children from their home as your brother is obviously mentally ill.

            And people wonder why the church is losing members in droves. Look no further than this kind of insane statement.

            Your brother is batshit crazy, Soren.

          • Soren Jensen

            This is a satire site written by other people. He never would say anything like this. See how ridiculous this is getting?

          • pnpnpn

            folks, that’s a satire site.

          • pnpnpn

            Threats of violence are one thing and should not be part of any conversation. Bringing up the fallout on his kids, as the mamamia writer did are certainly well within acceptabel discussion. Don’t confuse the two.

        • DK

          Anything that Nick does that his kids know about will shape those kids into what he is when they grow up. Hopefully they are smart enough to make better decisions as they get older and not breed stupidity and hate like their father.

      • Eric Vanderwal

        Hi Soren, I too am deeply hurt by this debate. As the father of a magnificent woman who is in a loving long-term same-sex relationship, I see the hurt of different forms of homophobia every single day. I feel her pain and the pain of her partner. I already feel the hurt their beautiful son will face when he grows up and has to face the likes of your brother. So many of my closest friends are either gay or lesbian, and I hurt when I see their pain; a pain driven by continued discrimination as practised by your brother (and, obviously, your sister-in-law). Your brother claims to be driven by his Christian beliefs, but this angers me as well. He and other supporters of the Christian Lobby Group have laid full claims on the word “Christian”. Well, I too am a Christian, and in MY faith the discrimination practised by your brother is against everything Christ taught us. I do not belief the Christian Lobby Group represents many Christians. It definitely does not represent me. Your brother may well be a loving man in other areas of his life, as you assert. I am sure many of the people who supported segregation in the US or South Africa in the past century were also loving husbands or fathers. It did not make their views less odorous or wrong, and it does not make your brother’s views less odorous or wrong. Of course, threats of violence against anyone are unacceptable, including any made against your family. But your brother’s stated beliefs, while not directly advocating violence against gay and lesbian people, reinforce a homophobic worldview, in which such violence as practiced against gay and lesbian people becomes acceptable. Gay bashing is still an almost daily occurrence. By publicly expressing his bigoted views he is as guilty as any other in encouraging violence. I assume your brother is, by now, too set in his mistaken views to be willing to open his mind and accept a different view. But he must also accept that if he goes public with such extreme and hurtful views, that he will face public ridicule and disgust. Frankly, he deserves it!

      • Thank you for the reply Soren,

        Indeed, I wholeheartedly agree that any attacks on your brother’s children are uncalled for, and are totally unacceptable and counterproductive.

        I support you in asking that any such attacks stop.

        I also love the idea that as a loving uncle you are likely to offer them an alternative view of the world, free of homophobia and prejudice.

        Unlike homosexuality, because I have known that I ‘liked’ boys as far back as I can remember, I always considered religion and homophobia learned behaviours which are enforced by our parents, and the culture and society that surrounds us, thus you will probably play a very important role in showing them a different way.

        My best wishes to you.

        • Tai Toki

          Apologies, I am very slow reading the comments and see that positions have been clarified. Love, light and peace. :).

      • mimibird

        People are outraged I think in part because it’s so idiotic. And this public announcement as if it will matter to anyone is arrogant. I don’t fault you for loving your brother, but I believe you are having one of those moments in which you feel compelled to defend a family member. If he wasn’t your brother, you would join us in our scoffing.

      • Sami Snail

        If anyone threatened to hurt his children, then that is wrong and evil. But if he is as unhinged and unwell as he appears to be, I worry about his children and think they should be removed. As it is, they are clearly going to be brainwashed and that is harm in itself.

        • Dale Norbeck

          he said this in another interview.

          “My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of adoption if it is to include rights for gay couples to raise children.”

          “How can we, as good Christians, look to raise children of our own, knowing that a gay couple round the corner are doing the exact same thing in the eyes of the law?”

          “Therefore we took the sad decision to kill our children if the government continues its backing of gay rights to include the right to raise children.”

          “We do not take this step lightly, and nor do we ask other good Christians to follow in our footsteps, just know what we could not in good conscience raise children in eyes of the lord knowing that gays have ruined this for everyone.”

      • pnpnpn

        Soren, it appears you need soem writing lessons then – your brush was extemely broad.

      • pnpnpn

        How the heck do you separate teh man he is from the stand he has taken. That’s just illogical gibberish. What is a person if not htier avowed actions and speech. Unless you are claimign some sort of mental illness for him that makes him incapable of reason? I hope you realize you are paintin gyourself into as hopeless a corner as your brother.

        It is hard to relaize you will have to mourn the man you thought he was andinstead deal with what is in front of you – which may wel be too repugant to associate with any more. And soemtimes, you even have to tell others that really, the person should nto be respected.

    • Ess

      I’m 100% for marriage/civil union legal equality.
      It is however worthwhile restating the definition of Bigot when it is often used in these discussions
      Bigot: “a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.”
      I much prefer the approach being taken of “so what”, he can do as he pleases. Live and let live.

      • Fatima Hassan

        “Be tolerant of my intolerance!”

        • pnpnpn

          the age old relativism problem.

    • Tai Toki

      I take offense to your reply. His message is one with compassion, love and with a clear understanding that something needs to be said on the replies to his brother’s family that are unreasonable, hateful, illogical and degrading. Any LGBT member knows what that feels like so why should we inflict that on other people especially children – Jensen’s children.

      I take offense that you are concentrating only on the negative aspect and not applauding him for taking a stand against his brother yet addressing the inappropriate way some of us have reacted to Jensen’s misguided threat.

      This is not an easy thing to do but I think he’s done it quite well, as a brother, uncle and human being..

  • Rohan Fenwick

    Soren, firstly I do want to express that I’m very sorry that your family has caught such backlash from your brother’s expressed views. Whatever else is the case, the response to his and your sister-in-law’s opinions should be targeted at them, not at all who surround him.

    In response to what you say about your brother being an intelligent, reasoned man, though, your brother does not qualify as reasoned – not by any stretch. His unwavering commitment to his religious beliefs makes him not reasoned by definition. It means that he is forgoing the responsibility to critically examine his own beliefs and biases and assumptions and understandings, choosing instead to allow his moral structure to be dictated by preconceived ideological dogmata arrived at by others in the Christian community. By taking the position he takes, and doing so in a public forum, he is saying to the world that his beliefs hold more value than the beliefs held by others. The fact that your brother would go so far as to seek divorce if gay marriage were legalised demonstrates this clearly: he is obviously so comfortable with the congruence between current law and his truth that he is not willing to respect the law evolving to recognise that other people’s truths have value as well. That is the very essence of bigotry.

    It’s also very sad that your brother believes that the aim of the law would be to force other people’s truths onto him; that he would think the law aims to redefine the truth of the relationship between him and his wife is very tragic indeed. Every marriage is unique, and every married couple gets to define their own truths about what marriage means to them. Surely he doesn’t think also that the existence of legalised divorce threatens the values of his own marriage as a specific relationship?

    • Soren Jensen

      Hi Rohan. He is reasoned for going through the exact process you have describe above. He has been a born again christian, gone through all those choices and options, and arrived at this as his truth. It is frustrating to debate with him as he has intelligent responses and reasons for them. Even though yes, as they are based on the logic of a religious doctrine, I personally find them flawed. But as I said, different truths.

      But I agree about the stance taken in a public forum, and creating a lot of negetivity by doing so. It is very sad. My only hope in writing this was to try create a little positive action, that those passionate in opposition to his stated views, dont waste time flinging insults on the internet, he wont be reading them, but to write to those who can actually create the change we hope for, thereby drowning out the voice of the ACL with positivity and love.

  • Randy McDonald

    The extent of the hatred, or at least dislike, of gay people and same-sex relationships that your brother and his wife have demonstrated is remarkable. If marriage becomes available to same-sex couples, they will divorce because they don’t want to share a civil status with non-heterosexuals in their relationships? That degree of hatred merits ridicule, if anything does.

    Are you defending your brother because you believe in the defense? Or are you defending your brother because you think it’s the right thing to do?

    • Soren Jensen

      Im defending my brother because I know him to be a good man, trapped by his belief in his religious doctrine that by his definition gives him no other option than this. Which makes me very sad. Im defending his right to have expressed his opinion. And I’m defending the right of all to oppose it. And I strongly oppose his statement and position.

      • Isa

        As stated above, you know there is no ‘democratic right to freedom of speech’ in this country, right? While your brother has felt free to publicly express his views, he is also free to accept the consequence of that choice.

      • Randy McDonald

        “I know him to be a good man”

        He does not appear to be behaving that way, of his own choice. He dislikes me so much that, if someone like me but Australian was to get married in his country, he would destroy his _own_ relationship?

      • Danni

        But ‘Christians’ don’t believe in divorce.. So isn’t he just breaking another rule?

  • Darren Matthews

    Like many Australians we find the comments made by your brother to be obnoxious. Although I respect his right to express his opinion there is no denying he is homophobic and using religion to justify his bias. If he truly believes that marriage is sacred how come he is not demanding a ban to defacto couples and divorces both which are sinful to the teachings of the church!

    • Soren Jensen

      Apart from the label, I agree with the rest of your statement and argument.

      • Merwyn Haskett

        If it quacks like a duck…then call a spade a spade.

        • Soren Jensen

          I dont think he is scared of gay people, he is fine with civil unions of any sex. In fact supportive of it. He is very protection of the word marriage being a church definition. But you also have a strong point based on what he has said, much as I wish, and think, this is not the case.

          • Sami Snail

            Then you really need to tell him that marriage PRE-DATES Christianity, that marriage is a GOVERNMENT construct, for the purposes of taxation and property, and has nothing at all, whatsoever, with any church. Marriage is a government contract. Nothing even remotely to do with religion. Also, marriage is not just for the process of having babies, if so, is he saying infertile people shouldn’t marry? No need to answer that, because I really think he is that type of person who actually believes that if you can’t pop out a kid then you shouldn’t be married. Which not only bars men/women who are infertile from marrying, it bars older widows as well.

  • MountainGranny

    Many of us in the US of A are shaking our heads at your brother’s ridiculous stunt. I understand that you love him, but that may blind you to the harm he is doing. He can’t possibly be the person you think he is–his stance is neither “intelligent” or “reasoned”. It is hateful. I do agree that no one should seek to vilify his children–they’re already being harmed enough by their parents. I hope your country does legally support marriage equality, and we can all watch the ensuing divorce and have another good laugh at this couple’s expense. Here, we call it “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

  • Expatmom

    My first response when I read about your brother was, “Who cares??” Then I hoped that none of his children were born gay. That would be awful for the child, right? I also thought he was a liar. Finding out he works for a christian lobby, I bet I’m right about him.

  • Tom Brewster

    These aren’t the actions of a reasonable person. As for compassion, even the most awful people (barring sociopaths, who are incapable of empathy), like the rest of us, are compassionate towards those they love and choose who else to show compassion using their own rationale. It’s how we treat people we aren’t biologically compelled to love or have grown to love that goes a long way towards defining us. Deferring to an ancient book on a human rights issue is not compassionate. And he knows he can cherry pick his beliefs anyway. Funny how so many people take their cues on homosexuality from the Bible, yet so few are willing to go all in and fight for their right to own slaves or rape their wives.

    • Soren Jensen

      I cant argue with some of the points you make. He does a lot of work for charity, fights for foreign aid, helps those who need help. But yes, on this issue, he is flawed when it comes to compassion.

  • Mary Cassidy

    Love and tolerance are hard won on the Internet; I applaud you for trying.

  • Karrine Elizabeth

    It saddens me that any person would attack a child (even verbally) there is NEVER an excuse for that. I do to some degree understand the anger that some have though. This isn’t for me about the ‘right to marry’ it is about HUMAN RIGHTS. Whether a part of the LGBT community, different ethnicity, genetic disabilities,religion, gender … and so on. None of these differences make us NON human. All humans have the right to HUMAN RIGHTS. This includes safety and freedom from discrimination. Your brother has his right to his OPINION.****** In my eyes FREE SPEECH does not include the right to SPEW HATE and verbally support discrimination of any one or group’s right to HUMAN RIGHTS. ** I have made a direct choice as a follower of JESUS to stand up for those whose HUMAN RIGHTS are being denied. Sadly, like a child in a playground, your brother is bullying a group that has been bullied long enough. I am sure that acting like a spoiled child is not what being a ‘child of God’ is about.

  • Fatima Hassan

    The back room lobbying that Nick is likely involved in with the ACL is his biggest wrongdoing, but this stunt? This is GOOD for the equality movement. Things like this always are, that’s why we’re winning. Think about it:

    Break the world into three demographics.

    You have your hardcore anti crowd, your hardcore pro crowd, and the pool of people who don’t know, don’t care, or aren’t sure.

    That latter group is of the highest importance as they represent the potential for change. The more ridiculous the antics of the anti crowd, the less that middle group will want to be associated with them.

    Do you imagine that Nick has convinced anyone of his nonsense through this ludicrous spectacle? By contrast, don’t you think at least some of the neutrals are shaking their head at the ostensible stupidity of these religious fanatics? The more lunatics like Nick espouse their ancient views and befuddling logic for everyone to see, the better off the movement.

    Christians don’t know how to market their nonsense to anyone other than the already convinced. This is why they are gradually losing their foothold. I personally want to thank Nick.

    As for Soren, I’d like to hear some of these “intelligent” arguments your brother makes against marriage equality. What a joke. I get it. He’s not a bad guy, just confused, brainwashed, and bigoted in the abstract sense. I’m sure I can follow that he’s still a decent guy in practice. But intelligent? That’s stretching it, I think.

    • Soren Jensen

      He actually, to my frustration, argues his points really well, if not failing at a lot of logic that exists outside of religious doctrine. He is well researched, educated and an excellent teacher of what he preaches. And has not reached his beliefs or hard line principles lightly. He is fine and even supportive of civil unions for all people, but fiercely protective of the definiton of marriage being defined by the church. So he will argue the churches role in marriage long before State, and the function state plays within marriage. They are frustratingly intelligent, although in my mind and I’m sure in yours, very misguided and a flawed logic. But he knows his religion and history and argues for it very well. But has not considered this course of action very wisely, it is not legally viable and therefore hollow.

      But I agree with you, and share your hope, that this stunt actual propels those on the fence to take action, support marriage equality, and as you’ve seen me say, make their voices heard in the most proactive way possible.

      • Fatima Hassan

        Do you think this hazy semantic argument about the “definition” of marriage is really at the heart of such a passionate stance? Maybe so. But it seems odd that a person would focus so much energy on the issue simply because of the word being used… unless they had some strong prejudice against the people using it.

        In any event, I support his divorce and think his reasoning is sound for voiding the legal marriage. After all, marriage early isn’t what he thought it was. He thought it was a religious rite when it’s actually a legal contract, or he conflated the one with the other. But if you ask me, he should get divorced whether or not marriage equality is achieved. It’s STILL a legal contract, and subject to oversight by LAW, not religious text.

        Your brother seems to already recognize this, hence the divorce sham. He seems to acknowledge that his marriage, as recognized by God, is a different thing than his marriage, as recognized by the state. Maybe he doesn’t understand that same-sex couples are largely concerned with the latter and that he’s free to keep the former all to himself.

        • Soren Jensen

          And it’s on this point we seem to all agree. There should be a seperation in terms of church and state on this issue. Problem is they want to take the marriage word with them. And yes this does seem to be the crux of his argument, but with it comes the inherent prejudice of the religious doctrine. Of that I will not and can not argue. Nor do I wish to.

          • Beth

            But surely since he is appealing to historical precedent, your brother must realise that history is not with him. The Christian Church took over the marriage contract in Europe (not the rest of the world) in the early middle ages. But Marriage without the approval of the Church, existed long before the Church and in other places, long after. We know that it exists in every culture, not just Christian cultures. In fact I think I can safely say that today of all the married people in the world, most got married without the involvement of a Christian Church. To claim that marriage is a concept that belongs only to the Christian Church is totally nonsensical unless your blinkers are on so tightly that you cannot see beyond your own time, place, gender and race. I suspect this is the problem in this case. He needs to get out into the world a little more.

            Furthermore to announce that you are going to divorce due to you unhappiness with changes to the marriage law can only be interpreted as hypocritical since the Bible is pretty clear about divorce. In fact I would argue it is a lot clearer about divorce than being gay.
            I must say I feel sorry for his wife and kids. He has used them as footballs in his personal political game. That was not fair of him.

          • Fatima Hassan

            You’re absolutely right about the history of marriage, as a concept, and its obvious pre-dating of Christianity. I honestly can’t imagine how people who are supposedly versed in their history can believe it is a Christian invention. Hell, even the bible shows that marriage existed before Christianity. Abraham had a wife before he even interacted with God, certainly before any covenants were made. In other words, he was married before he could have even known “God’s plan”. Odd that we don’t see too many Jews making an ungodly fuss about it. The funniest part is that the Church only took over marriage because it WAS the state. Not surprisingly, its idea of marriage was largely derived from the Roman institution, which is where the word “marriage” originates (maritatus/maritatre). The Greeks had a similar concept of marriage.

            Anyhow, it’s funny how sure most Christians seem to be that the concept is somehow essentially Christian, when not even the WORD itself is. So no, they don’t own the word and they certainly don’t own the concept.

            But in Nick’s “defense”, there can be a very specific definition of marriage as it relates to the Christian faith, a marriage “in the eyes of God”. Here’s the problem:

            Nick’s planned protest is to dissolve the contract recognized by the state while maintaining the contract recognized by God. He’s not planning to leave his wife or even to stop referring to her as his wife (and she’s in on it, by the way). The joke is that he’s effectively admitting that these contracts are two different things, which is precisely the point.

            Besides being a ridiculous example of “cutting off your nose to spite your face”, it’s also absurd for the fact that his threat itself draws the dichotomy that he’s protesting in the first place. He might as well get the divorce now, regardless of the outcome! After all, the very fact that he CAN get a divorce illustrates that his legal marriage adheres to conditions and definitions that are not in line with “God’s plan”.

            All in all, top notch protest!

          • pnpnpn

            kids? yes. Wife? She’s an adult.

          • Sondra Carr

            The term and the concept predated Christianity. He’s not as well-researched as you proclaim. “They” aren’t taking the marriage term with them, your brother is trying to take it away from all the rest of us and claim it’s a Christian thing, when it’s not. Whatever ways the Christian church has adapted the ancient concept of marriage to suit its needs is not what is being fought for here.

            I think you definitely should argue it. If he’s logical then he needs to look at the actual history and realize it was a secular institution before Christianity. This is like the Christians claiming there was no moral or legal code before the Ten Commandments -also complete bunk.

          • Dale Norbeck

            can you pls argue this then?

            “My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of adoption if it is to include rights for gay couples to raise children.”

            “How can we, as good Christians, look to raise children of our own, knowing that a gay couple round the corner are doing the exact same thing in the eyes of the law?”

            “Therefore we took the sad decision to kill our children if the government continues its backing of gay rights to include the right to raise children.”

            “We do not take this step lightly, and nor do we ask other good Christians to follow in our footsteps, just know what we could not in good conscience raise children in eyes of the lord knowing that gays have ruined this for everyone.”

          • pnpnpn

            satire site

          • Chabo Chook

            Dale, that was written in a satire piece. I am pretty sure Nick never said that (although whether he thinks it may be open to conjecture given his preoccupation with denying basic human rights).

        • pnpnpn

          From what I’m readign, he can’t get divorced under Australian law unless he perjures himself.

      • misplacedyip

        Maybe you should point out to your brother that Christianity doesn’t own marriage. Marriage exists, and has existed, in most cultures in the world. Marriage predates Christianity. There are even same-sex marriages that predate Christianity (even in the western world).

        So, I’m not really sure why he thinks that Christianity gets to own the idea of marriage. He sounds like he’s ridiculously self-centered, incredibly privileged, and intensely Eurocentric.

        • misplacedyip

          And, btw, marriage wasn’t treated as a religious sacrament by the Church until the 1100s.

          I don’t think that historical precedent is a valid argument in marriage equality but if your brother is going to use history then…

      • Luan Salmon

        The interesting thing about.your brother’s decision to divorce if ….is that Christians believe that marriage is a sacrament, for life, unbreakable. So, he is, in actual fact, showing how little he values the sanctity of marriage and the vows he pled before God.

        Also, I really appreciate all that you have said and I am sorry that some people are not able to appreciate your message. I am also sorry that you are having to endure all of the hatred brought on to you and your family because of the views of your brother. It sounds like he has lost his way. I will pray that he has a change of heart and realizes that God is a loving God and would never condone this hateful behaviour.

        • pnpnpn

          Wait a second, you want to apologize for those (most of whom aren’t vicious or violent or espousing same,) meanwhile, you are overgenerous to soemone you see as committing “this hateful behaviour?” DO you see a bit of a double standard there?

      • Ranger Ginger

        Hi in terms of the history that I am aware of the Church was not involved in the sanctity of marriage until the 12/13th Century, prior to that there was no need for a priest to be involved. Generally, if there was a priest it was about blessings for fertility! As we can see from history, marriage (not churched based) was a legal contract between two people for the sake of property, look at all of those kings and Queens through history that got married without love! How can anyone call that “sacred”? The bible advocates “polygamy”, concubines, the marrying of close cousins. It is only in the last 250 years that “love” marriages have become fashionable. It was therefore a ‘business’ transaction! I think that there is some need for doing some research into marriage via anthropology and not theological studies!

      • Patrick

        Zealots always argue well Soren. Well researched and educated? I suspect selective learnings to suit your brother’s backward, ignorant and out of touch fervent views. He made a ridiculous attention seeking public statement without one iota of research into the legalities of divorce for example. Anyone who’s been around the block a few times will rightly prescribe to the view “those who suspect vice in others are often highly suspect themselves”. While coming to his defence is understandable as is your love and respect for him, perhaps dig a little deeper. There’s nothing more convincing than well practised duplicity.

      • pnpnpn

        Soren, I don’t know you, so cant rely on you as a judge of your brohter’s intellect. Perhaps he is an overacheving older brother which has colored your view. I have only heard your brother’s “arguments” in this article, though I’m familiar with what he likely espouses from many other sources. And sorry, but once you bring in the supernatural (religion) you’ve ceded the game in the logic department. That’s been the case since Darwin. As for history, again, sorry, but the history of marriage is much longer and much more varied than Chrsitianity and has morphed even within the church over time. I’m sorry he’s managed such a hold on you – who seem to be a kind and compassionate person.

  • Sky

    To be honest, I don’t know what amuses me more: the fact that Nick Jensen and his wife will divorce if marriage equality is achieved, or the fact that they think anyone actually cares.

    I think there is one fundamental thing about freedom of speech that Nick, the ACL and others like him fail to grasp – we have to respect their right to have an express an opinion, we DON’T have to respect the opinion itself. And if the opinion is stupid, outdated and cultic to the point where he is willing to sacrifice his marriage to defend it, then he can’t really expect anything but an appropriate response.

    That being said, though, hate is never the way to deal with hate. And whoever brought the kids into it should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Dickie Cockburn

    Bible says God hates divorce but says nothing about gay people getting married. Stupid people.

  • DDASS18

    Dear Soren,

    Firstly I want to say sorry that threats and insults have come towards your brothers children. They should not be brought into this as they are innocent children. No one should threaten children.

    But to what your brother has said. I strongly disagree. I was brought up by a christian family, and although I believe that there is in fact a God. I don’t respect or believe much to what is said in the bible. Firstly, your brother and sister-in-law threaten to divorce if gays were aloud to marry. If they were true Christians they would know that divorcing is not what God wants, and is classed as a sin if they were to re-marry. Although loving another person of the same-sex is obviously a great issue in the Christian faith, I have to say this to all true believers, in the bible it says that God loves all his children, and he made him in his image. So how come if people are attracted to the same-sex they have hatred thrown at them. They are also Gods children not just ‘straight’ people.

    I just don’t at all understand all the hatred people have these days. What your brother and his wife is doing is classed as discrimination. They are disrespecting gays to have the chance to have equal rights as humans.

    There is so much discrimination going on in this country it is absolutely ridiculous. It does not matter what religion you follow, what nationality you are, or which sex you are attracted to. Everyone should be aloud to have human rights. What your brother has said could really impact gays. Did he not think that saying that could lead to them harming themselves and also feel that insecure about themselves they’d shy away from people, and think that every person feels that way. Towards them.

    I do respect your brothers right to have his say in what he believes but they need to realise that simply by saying that, could really have bad impacts on others.

    I support gay marriage completely, and believe they should be able to marry if they choose so. So I hope it gets legalised.

    I also want to say sorry if this sounds rude. But I was just saying what I feel.

  • Matthew Maida

    Someone can say what they will. But once said doesn’t make them immune from response. Its not being loony to declare a Loving Father and Husband will seek a Divorce If Gay Folk is allowed the same human dignity to marry as he has? As a Religious person I would assume after this Divorce takes effect he will stop cohabiting with his wife, and not live in sin out of wedlock with his wife, to not do that and still stay in a loving relationship with that said soon to be former wife, is also a violation against God isn’t it?

    It is regrettable such an issue will spark such dramatic response, but when I first read your brother’s article I thought to myself “I was waiting for this.”
    There had never been a clear answer as to what would happen to the vaulted “Sanctity” of Marriage if it was violated by allowing loving people to marry each other who happen to be Gay, there never really been a direct point A to point B to point C to this conclusion. Someone declaring they would dissolve their own marriage because strangers they don’t know, no where near them maybe given the same human respect by allowing to marry, does seem to be at least some vague consequence and answer to this question of mine.
    It is an odd thing where people who believe they speak the mind of God, even infuse that thinking into the Politics that is capable of effecting more people than just him and or the faithful, when God who is God of the Whole Universe would really care about the Politics of a few Microbes on one side of a speck of Dust that is just floating along his Vast Universe.

  • Leslie Martinez

    Well, let us take this look at it. If Nick is so against same sex marriage because of his religious beliefs, he should not care one bit what the Government says about allowing it since his marriage is between him, his bride, and HIS god. Not a contract with the State.

    And, to quote you, “This is a free country ….” Yet your brother fights to take away freedom, and more importantly equality, from others based on HIS beliefs and trying to force those beliefs on others of different beliefs.

    I can agree that he does have the right to be opposed same sex marriage based on his beliefs. I also agree that the hateful and violent responses are completely wrong. But, he has NO right to try to force his beliefs on to others and is standing against freedom and equality that you say makes up the country.

    • Pseudonym

      “Not a contract with the State.”

      Indeed, that is exactly what Nick appears to want to do: keep his (religious) marriage, but get out of the contract with the state because, in his mind, the state isn’t upholding its end of the agreement that he thought they had.

      While I find Nick’s argument wrong and idiotic, I do have to admit that there’s a certain amount of self-consistency there. But maybe he should have thought of that first; if you truly believe that something is sacred and the sole province of your own religion, getting the government involved with it seems like a terrible idea.

  • SNCF S

    Thanks for the article – solid defence of your family. Sounds like he’s been subjected to some nasty stuff.. And glad to see your strong support for equal marriage and LGBT dignity.

    ….but…

    Equal marriage is a political issue.
    – Your brother is involved with a political lobby group in relation to this issue.
    – Your brother has jumped into the politicla debate as a frontman for his lobby group and supporters of his political position

    Therefore, it is only right that your brother be subjected to the political rhetoric and criticism that comes with being a representative of political group.
    – Attacking his kids etc is a step too far I agree, as it is for any person in politics.
    – His wife though is fair game given her direct personal involvement in your brother’s political activities.

    Now… let’s get some perspective.
    – The position your brother takes alongside his ACL colleagues is one that amounts to shaming, bullying, intimidating and harassing LGBT people. His position also leads LGBT youth to suicide and chronic depresssion. It also has profound effects on adults. The clinical evidence is clear.
    – His position is also bigoted and hypocritical. He takes a strong stand against equal marriage on religious grounds… but is completely silent or complicit in breaching the strict, original interpretation of almost every other fundamental teaching coming out of hte bible and christianity.
    – His factual claims and the claims made by the ACL about the danger of LGBT marriage have been demonstrably disproven time and time again in overseas marriage equality campaigns… but the ACL and your brother persist with lying about the facts, misrepresenting them, completely ignoring them or fabricating their own facts. This is evil dishonesty.

    So, yes, of course he is entitled to his view and has the right to express it as the frontman of a political lobby group (and as an individual). He is equally entitled to be criticised and have his horrendous ideas attacked with ferocity and zeal.

    And anyone, like ACL and your brother, who lies about, misrepresents or fabricates evidence to support a bigoted viewpoint is a nutter.
    – That is the very definition of nutter.
    – If ACL and your brother did not lie or make facts up, then you might have a valid point – but that is not the current position.

    • Soren Jensen

      I don’t disagree with anything you have said here. Thanks for the comment.

  • BillipPhailey

    “his statement that he will seek a divorce if homosexuals are allowed to marry.”

    If gays getting married would cause him and his wife to divorce, then there is no.way.shape.or.form that they truly love one another. There is no way that he respects his vows and his god.

    How fragile his bond must be if it is dependent on external factors for validation and survival. Arguably,a marriage predicated on the actions of external factors would by necessity include an incorporeal third party to the marriage. How is that ONE man – ONE woman? Would a union so tenuous merit the protection of the state or the sanction of a deity?

    I understand the desire to defend him, but he said some incredibly stupid shit to the world. As he has sown, so shall he reap.

    But he knows that already…right?

  • Ben Harker Smith

    I’m sorry to say that he does sound like a “religious nut”, I knew your brother 10 years ago, and then I couldn’t imagine him saying something so callous and insensitive, not to mention that marriage isn’t even a contract between to parties and the state, its a contract between 2 parties. Also just because he had a right to say something does not make him immune from criticism, even harsh criticism and dismissal as a nut, if he get afforded that right so does everyone else

    I have been very actively engaged with this article and it backlash, yet I’ve not seen any lies about him, not have I seen hate and vitriol, more I’ve seen peoples honest reaction (mostly in the form of what an idiot, get divorced then) to someone that they see from their view point as being bigoted ant though I am sure you have seen quite personal attacks on him and his family was that not the expected response form some? was that not part of the point? Nick is an intelligent man, he would of known what he was getting himself in to! Not to say that it was his fault, but what I mean to say is that people will sometimes take there anger too far, and those people should be ignored where we can, not told to be silent, like I said before, if Nick has freedom of speech so do they!

    But the crux of the matter is really this, Nick has pulled a publicity stunt that was in designed to have just this kind of backlash, that in the end, says more about his disrespect for marriage, his wife, his kids, and his god than anything I have seen coming from those who have pushed back against his lunacy.

  • Jara Matthews

    Soren, you are awesome.
    I met a hottie named soren in the 90s.
    He was an ecstasy dealer.
    I digress.
    I disagree with one thing.
    You say your brother is “reasoned”.
    Christians arent reasoned or rational.
    They are people who believe a book written by primitive tyrants.
    People who believe that in an infinite universe, with 500 BILLION life sustaining planets in our galaxy alone, with all the infinite species on just this one planet, that the creator of it all is so obsessed with this ONE species, he sent his only son to earth to be tortured to death because that somehow grants the rest of us a get out of hell free card. To be honest, itd make more sense if NOT killing him granted forgiveness, but thats just one of those reasonless paradoxes of christianity.
    Oh and he was born of a virgin.
    Because god likes making rules and then breaking them himself to demonstrate his mastery over all things to his beloved humans, whom he denies equal ability to.
    And they believe this.
    And there is something else you can tell your brother.
    Gay marriage does not effect straight marriage.
    He can have his church marriage and revel in his perceived pious superority all he wants. You DO NOT have the right to force other men to live by your beliefs. I protect his right to believe in the sheer schizophrenia that is christianity if he chooses to do so and i protect all mens rights to do as they choose as well.
    He is WRONG to fight others granted the same freedoms he misuses.
    Thats all.
    I cant wait till they divorce!
    Thats reason enough to pass the bill.
    Btw
    Your brother looks gay to me.
    Maybe hes fighting something inside?

    • Robert Davidson

      Not sure that stereotyping Christians like this is a good move when advocating for non-vilification of a group. Fighting vilification with vilification only makes the whole world blind.

  • lifeisfunnykeeplaughing

    I appreciate your desire to defend your brother. I consider people who threaten/endanger children to be lowlifes. Your brother in his political actions threatens/endangers children..gay children and children of gay families. Its terrible that anyone would threaten your brother’s chidren, it is wrong. But this is a classic as your sow, so shall you reap situation. He endangered his own family. If he had been as good a man as you are portraying his as, he would have considered the harm he is doing. Instead he is threatening a cheap stunt. And that threat by itself shows him to be unprincipled based on his own claims of faith

  • Jeff

    When you choose to put such divisive views in the public arena by undertaking a interview with a local publication you are opening your self up to public ridicule. Especially when your views are intolerant, narrow minded, bigoted and not shared with the majority of Australians. If it was a well reasoned and informed argument the response would probably be less harsh. In another era I cannot help but think Nick would be against interracial relationships for the same bigoted reasons. No sympathy!

  • Jeff

    When you choose to put such divisive views in the public arena by undertaking a interview with a local publication you are opening your self up to public ridicule. Especially when your views are intolerant, narrow minded, bigoted and not shared with the majority of Australians. If it was a well reasoned and informed argument the response would probably be less harsh. In another era I cannot help but think Nick would be against interracial relationships for the same bigoted reasons. No sympathy!

  • Gretchen Rph

    I understand you don’t want to see your brother battered about on social media but understand, from the other side of the planet no one can tell what a swell guy he is, all we know is that his “I will hurt only me and my wife if people get rights” is just…comical. See how I pulled that back, there are so many words I could have used. Ask your brother if he has ever watched Blazing Saddles.

    • Gretchen Rph

      In America, not that swell of a country but it’s where I live, people have made outrageous claims that gay marriage will destroy the family and ruin marriage and harm kids, and it’s all failing hard in the courts and in public opinion. In this case, your brother’s marriage appears to only be under threat from your brother. Also I am aware that one of America’s underreported exports are evangelical activists who spread across the globe trying to do the extreme things to other countries they fail to do at home. If any of the loud backwards-looking voices in Australia’s current process on this issue is from the ‘States, humblest apologies. We are awash in nonsense, some spillage. Here, we are awaiting a decision from our highest court that may strike down the last barriers to nationwide marriage equality, most court watchers predict. And the day after, the sun still will rise and set, cows will still give milk, and corn will still grow, and everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about. May it be so for your nation.

      • Likestoreadcomments

        wow- very nicely put— where is the thumbs up button when u need one?

  • DK

    Nick is the only one that is going to ruin his marriage. He is the only threat to it.
    Life will go on for everyone else in the world and he will be a divorced man that lives with his ex-wife. Awkward. All because the two guys next door want to share that same marital experience to represent their love. I don’t know why Nick thinks that gay marriage will affect his life.

    Does Nick stick his nose in everything that doesn’t concern him? He must be a busy man. When the neighbour doesn’t mow the lawn or bring the bins in does Nick divorce his own lawn and bins out of anger and spite? His contract with the government regarding the neighbour’s lawn and bins was breached.

    It’s time that people stopped looking at homosexuals as bad people, or followers of the devil, or whatever they are calling them. Anyone that denies them the right to share equal rights that straight people have are scum. Anyone that feels like it is their right to intervene in something that doesn’t affect them needs to take a step back and reconsider the person they are living as.

    Religious people are always promoting peace and harmony and caring for one another. They promote helping your fellow man, loving thy neighbour, etc etc, but as soon as someone is gay then they are of the devil, should be burnt at the stake and turned into kitty litter.

  • metta8

    A Gay Dad’s Letter to the Australian Couple Who Threatens Divorce if Marriage Equality is Realized

    http://evolequals.com/2015/06/11/a-gay-dads-letter-to-the-australian-couple-who-threatens-divorce-if-marriage-equality-is-realized/

  • M J
  • Lindsay Lp Piper

    “he will seek a divorce if homosexuals are allowed to marry. ”
    “it is also his right to do so”

    Sorry to burst everyones bubble, but It IS NOT his right to do so.

    You have a right to protest. You have a right to divorce.
    but you DONT have the right to divorce as protest.

    Australian Family law, Section 48. Divorce will be granted only if the marriage has broken down and continued cohabitation is unlikely in the future.(summarised)

    And id expect perjury will be alot harder to get away with after writing an article about getting a gay divorce.
    I guess the christian alliance should have talked to their lawyers before setting him up for this doozy.

    Which basically makes this whole article Moot.
    No possibility of divorce makes him just another angry extremist in this world.

    while I applaud this response and deplore the despicable comments made towards you
    all I can say is, its the internet.

  • metta8
  • Diane Moffatt

    I really do not understand what your brother is expecting to achieve here.

  • metta8

    Or maybe a wedding video: https://vimeo.com/58085093

  • metta8
  • metta8
  • DBKeeffe

    My gripe with your brother is not that he has an opinion counter to mine, but that he has chosen to grandstand with that opinion in a way that only, well I believe the only lasting effect it will have is to severely harm his ’cause’.

    Oh and … he is WRONG, according to all I know that is Holy.

  • Gregok

    Dear Soren, I can agree that personal attack is inappropriate in this debate, even if we set aside for a moment the degree of personal attack that has been lead by the ACL and its cohort previously toward gay public figures AND their children.
    However your brother has decided on a ridiculous publicity stunt and deserves ridicule. Ridicule is an entirely appropriate response.
    The sbs.com.au satire story of people ignoring their stunt is brilliant, as is the facebook event invitation being shared among my queer friends to celebrate the coming divorce. These are not attacks on the person but rightful ridicule of a stupid grandstanding act. It is entirely self inflicted.

    • Soren Jensen

      I agree. I was referring to extremeist comments of harm. Ridicule and condemnation, as I said, is pretty deserved. I had to laugh at the sbs one. That was excellent.

  • David Yacopetti

    Yeah Soren, but bigotry is bigotry, no matter how politely couched or how piously packaged by the “godly”. If your bro and wife wish to strike inflammatory poses to promote a bigot’s cause, we’re entitled to out them as bigots. Will it help your feelings if we describe them as Otherwise Lovely Bigots?

  • DE(x) Hooker CS

    Soren, may I start with stating what a well thought out, intelligent and yet at the same time emotional article you’ve written. I applaud you, sir, for stepping up and publicly stating your own opinion in the wake of your brother’s now particularly infamous opinion. As a hetero believer in equality amongst all, I too have had many spirited debates with people who oppose my opinion, oddly enough, my husband being one. Personally, I admit to reacting poorly when reading your brother’s statement, not in a way that would, a: publicly condemn him because I believe in a person’s right to their opinion, or b: in a way that would ever wish harm on himself or his family, however, my opinion of that article and ultimately the man behind the article was less than fortunate. That said, I sincerely apologize for the hatred being slung towards your family, and am abhorred by the concept that any of this is reflecting on your innocent niece and nephews. You are very right that your brother is entitled to share his opinion as he sees fit – so many people fought and died for that right – tho I truly hope that through the course of time your spirited debates with your brother can at the very least curve the frighteningly outdated opinion he has on equal rights towards a greater level of tolerance before his own beliefs destroy the very foundations he’s worked so hard to achieve in his personal life. Fortunately, I highly doubt your brother’s threats will do anything to harm the movement towards equality – unfortunately, what I do see is the pain he will only bring on himself when equality happens. I wish he and his family well over the months to come, for holding a belief so deep that causes such misery for other well meaning human beings can bring only sorrow upon him. Anyway, the point of this little note to you is to let you know that your voice has been heard, clear across the world; your words have been absorbed and appreciated; and although I cannot ever agree with what your brother has decided to set his life against, I do wish all of your family well. Hatred gets us nowhere in this life except to the point where tolerance is no longer prevalent in our society. In the end, it leaves all parties sad and exhausted with nary a winner in sight.

    • Soren Jensen

      Thank you, and very much agreed.

  • Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.

    I agree with the letter except in one respect..
    Your brother *is* a loony, a religious nutter.

    That’s no excuse for us to be cruel to him, and certainly not his family.

    Mockery is appropriate, but not to the extent that it becomes malicious.

  • clonanster

    “Shame on those who attacked my niece and nephews and include them in this argument”. Perhaps your brother should have considered this before he said Legalising same-sex marriage would undermine “our most sacred institution, and have serious consequences for children who would grow up without a mother or father,”

    If your brother sees fit to include the children of same sex families in this argument, then he might have expected that the responses would include references to his own children.

    (Not to mention the fact that his comment is blatantly incorrect according to all the available evidence which says that children in same sex families do as well if not better across all areas of life and development, and in fact the only harm they suffer is from the discriminatory treatment and attitudes they receive from the likes of your brother.)

    • Soren Jensen

      I dont disagree with you. And I dont agree with him on many points, especially that of children. In same sex relationships, by circumstance, children would feel the most wanted and loved.

  • Leon Wark

    I’m trying to make an argument in the alternative. Everyone’s support would be appreciated. At least tell me what you think.

    Follow the link to my article:
    https://leonwark.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/im-not-getting-on-the-see-saw-if-everyone-isnt-allowed-to-play/

  • Sarah B

    I’m somewhat disappointed and perplexed that Her Canberra is running this open response. While I understand that Stephen is feeling the sting of someone he loves being openly and viciously attacked, his efforts to paint the wonderful character of his brother are palpably ironic. Imagine the sting and hurt every friend or family member feels when the LGBT community is attacked. And make no mistake by saying that you will divorce if marriage equality is introduced is laden with extremely hurtful connotations – that this institution that is held so sacred and they are so committed to could become something so devalued, disgusting and repugnant if that privilege is shared with same sex couples they are willing to completely reject it. And frankly its a stunt, a publicity stunt. Naively perhaps your brother thought it was simply an effective protest, but it is in all honesty an incredibly hurtful stunt. Perhaps then we need to agree to disagree on the definition of a good christian, which for me is a compassionate individual, who like the character of Jesus valued equality and lovingly embraced those commonly rejected by society.

    • Soren Jensen

      He’s a good guy, but in this opinion and stating it in a public forum, he is very flawed. And your right, none of this should have been in a public forum and is definately not newsworthy. This was a fb status and a comment on the original article that Her Canberra asked to share.

  • Xi

    I feel so bad for his brother Soren J. He is trying so hard to keep his family name clean and honorable and standing up for nicks right to his own opinion, while Nick has willingly put him and his entire family in harms way. He is willing to destroy his whole family just because gays will be able to marry. He claims to be a godly man who follows his good book to the letter, but did he forget that divorce is considered a sin? He claims to have valid arguments with historical backings, but does he not realize that marriage is not exclusive to Christianity? Marriage predates Christianity, therfore Christians do not own marriage. Many religions speak of marriage, but also the fact is that marriage is a legal arrangement that does not always involve any kind of religion. If he is so willing to destroy his family over this, then his heart is in the wrong place. His family is what is important, not what others do with their own time and it certainly is not his business to worry about who loves who. In an article that Soren wrote, he claimed his brother is educated and a man with reason. But as far as I and most can tell, he is just hungry for attention, just as a young school bully who took the box of action figures to recess alone with him but threw a hissy fit because the teacher instructed him to share, but instead of sharing he threatens to break all the toys.

  • Elizabeth Norton

    Very well said. I too disagree with your brother but I find the level of cruelty, name calling and ridicule on the internet even more disturbing. Especially from the likes of public figures like Mia Freedman. I hope your brother and his wife are ok.

  • Paul

    Dear Soren, I respect you for your open letter that strives for maturity in the discussion, and a mature treatment of your brother’s argument.

    However, I struggle to treat Nick Jensen’s argument that way. It is hard for me to respond to an argument that is so pathetically puerile and self-centred by taking the higher road and trying to discuss it more maturely.

    I agree that name-calling doesn’t really get us anywhere, however I think Australia is often so politically-correct that we’re too afraid sometimes to call a spade a spade. Or in this case, calling something idiotic, idiotic.

    Your brother is appalled by equality, and how that affects his perception of himself. Perhaps that is just more sad than idiotic.

    Many religions in the world today are wielded as weapons, and Christianity is not immune. I believe we need to call out this behaviour.

    Australia is a secular country, so church and state are mercifully separated here – or at least they are meant to be. If Nick can not get on board with that idea then there are many theistic countries in the world he might feel more at home in – but of course most of those countries are still murdering their own citizens for being gay, being raped, or just being women – under “pure” religious laws.

    So perhaps Nick would prefer to live in a more inclusive country that embraces tolerance and love? In which case, he should get on board with those principles.

    • Soren Jensen

      Hi Paul, I agree with everything you’ve said here.

  • Lesley Graham

    Okay we get that he feels strongly about it, but there is no point divorcing his wife, it make no sense nobody really cares. He is making himself and his wife a target out of his attitude, this is the problem with people who are very religious, they can lose sight of what this is all about, this is about giving people who are ostracised from being legally married, a chance to be seen as equal in the eyes of the law and also society. I don’t believe as a religious person he has any right to create so much hoo ha over it, as there are many people in the Church that believe in marriage equality, so he really should have just kept his mouth closed. As from where I’m standing he really is just shooting himself in the foot, I believe he needs to get out of his mid class comfortable detached life and go and meet some LGBTI people develop some empathy and care as Jesus would have.

  • Alaisdair Dewar

    Thanks for your reply Soren. It is a really hard thing to deal with, I think the biggest problem is with this statement ” have read the attacks on him, and his children and shame on those who attacked my niece and nephews and include them in this argument. ” When people like your brother go on national television and newspapers, which then blows up into an international story, he is opening himself and his family (yourself included!) to “attacks” from the other side, when you make a public statement that opposes love and equality, you better be mature enough and prepare your family for the inevitable backlash that will come from doing this. You are right it isn’t fair but unfortunately with the media, social media and people in general it is the way it is. I hope your nieces and nephews are doing ok.

    I myself am a gay man and have a family that is Hillsong religious who share exactly the same opinions as your brother, so I know where you are coming from 100%, it is difficult, and fortunately we have a “don’t talk about it” rule in our family that helps maintain healthy relationships (apparently?)

    Thank for your posting your response to your brothers statements and I hope that everything improves with your family situation and hopefully it all blows over soon.

  • Carolution

    Because lgbt community doesn’t face death,bullying,assault & more from people with the same mentality of your brother…if that was my brother i’d disown him for openly supporting discrimination against an entire group of people…
    oh and ask your brother how does two same sex couple getting married affect his life….i can’t wait for that answer….

    • Soren Jensen

      I agree, and neither is right. Are you saying it is?

      I’ve posted this on my fb against is position, but still love his despite a very flawed opinion.

      And it doesn’t, and he shouldnt have said it.

      • Carolution

        how did you get from my comment that i think discrimination of an entire group of people is somehow ok?, or that bullying gay people,assaulting them or driving them to suicide is ok either..your brother is wrong & i can’t wait for gays & lesbians to have the right to marry since ive known gay people who have been together longer then i have been alive….

  • Kerryn Chapman

    This whole shebang is stupid. I don’t care whether he is married or divorced. I don’t care who he is married to. And he should stop caring who other people are marrying. It. Is. None. Of. His. Business.
    He is a religious nut of the most dangerous kind. And not to mention woefully uneducated on the matter of divorce. In a divorce you have to sign paperwork to say that you are not living together and there is no chance of the marriage continuing successfully. So, either a divorce will not be granted or he will lie.
    I don’t agree with the attacks on his children (that is as stupid as what the man himself said). But I don’t agree that he is a nice person. And being religious doesn’t automatically mean you’re a good person. Just like being an atheist doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
    He is acting like a hysterical teenager stamping her feet and threatening all manner of ridiculous things if she doesn’t get her way. Why would we refuse to pass marriage equality because one couple think they’ll get divorced? Who CARES, honestly.
    I’m sorry you and the rest of your family have been dragged into this. I’m hoping this is only your brothers bigoted views and the rest of your family are much more accepting.

    • Soren Jensen

      It is just his.

  • Ally Hunter

    ohmygod this is so bullsh*t it is not your movement if it has no effect on you and i would suggest you stop speaking for the LGBTIAG+ community. your brother is a bigot. comparing oppressed people complaining about bigots actively trying to take away their rights to the bigots themselves is absolutely ridiculous and incredibly dishonest. And idk about this ‘inclusive Australia’ you believe in, that is absolutely not the reality many people face and i highly doubt you would waffle on about it were you actually in a group which faced oppression. while i am very sorry to hear about some of the comments that have been made about the children unfairly dragged into this i still hate your response. plz take your ‘don’t fight hate with hate uwu’ rhetoric to a demographic which could actually use it (maybe start with white australians)

    • Soren Jensen

      Hi Ally. Thanks for your message. Just a few quick points. I felt I was only referring to extremists who have made threatening comments, I feel Ridicule and condemnation were very reasonable responses. This was simply my facebook status and a comment on the original article which was asked to be shared and posted here. I had no intention of it being used in any media forum.

      And I said the inclusive Australia I hoped for, I’m very aware its not a reality for many many people. And that is shameful.

      And I was not speaking for a community, just for myself.

      But by your argument, should I not say anything about the treatment of asylum seekers because I’m not one and it doesnt effect me? How about Indigenous rights and treatment? I’m a father of two daughters, but shouldn’t speak up about sexism because I’m a man?

      Or how about my want to speak up for marriage equality because I want to see my gay uncle’s relationship recognised? My cousin’s and her partner as they raise their beautiful little girl? and all of my friends relationships? Or just for Equal Human rights in all form in general?

      I was trying to turn negetive energy into positive action. But it was a shoot from the heart facebook staus, and I’m sorry if you took offence to it.

  • Tom Hooper

    Hi Soren, I appreciate your letter as a gay man and I also understand your brother’s right to an opinion…

    However, how exactly is he upholding the sanctity of marriage he apparently believes in if he divorces his wife because a gay couple could have the equal chance to share their love just as your brother has the right to do with his wife?

    I’m sorry, it’s pure bigotry and ridiculous even more so than a plot line from any of the Anerican soap operas. Divorce used to be (and i assume in some religions, still is) a sin – so if he’s making this bold decision because of his religious beliefs, I find it hard to equate the two.

    I would never disparage your brother, his wife or their children, but he needs to realise how stupid he has been and how hurtful his decision has come across.

    I suggest you ask him to tell you how a gay couple getting married affects him or his family in the slightest? It might not be his idea of a family, but hey, he’s the one threatening to rip apart his own family if it happens.

    I wish you and yours well and hope you can help your narrow minded brother see sense.

  • suzieQ

    there is a huge silent majority who are against same-sex marriage as your brother is, and understand exactly what he was saying. it’s very disturbing that Australian’s can no longer voice their opinion without being abused. sadly it is worldwide. even a man in this video has been called a ‘homophobe’, a man who is gay, and was even jailed for being gay. my experiences have taught me not to engage with anyone who resorts to name calling, threats, etc. my heartfelt prayers are with you and your family. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6HD8KLQBvA

  • Georgina Metcalf

    I just think it’s plain ridiculous on his part in the first place to threaten divorce. Nobody should be saying anything about his kids but honestly what did he expect to happen. Actions have consequences. I feel sorry for his children. … heaven help them if one of them should turn out to be LGBT. As it’s not as if you actually get a choice in the matter. I’m sorry for your family being caught in the crossfire. That’s not fair. But if you are going to publicly come out saying stuff like this I have no sympathy for you. He can have his opinion and he can keep it to himself. …Because if he’s going to throw his marriage away on principle then I’m sorry, he’s a bloody idiot, and no matter how well educated he is he is not smart.

  • Fred Noteboom

    Soren – sadly, the “mistake” that your brother and sister-in-law have made is to put it out there – I am not sure why they and many of their generation feel the need to do so – if they feel that strongly about it, let them do it in privacy (to the detriment of their family unit), but do they have to tell the world about it – not quite narcissism, but it smacks of “moral blackmail” – they don’t like the new rules? – well get over it – it is not going to make a jot of difference to their lives whether LGBT people’s human rights are upheld. Neither Nick’s and Sarah’s human rights, nor those of their children are going to be diminished by this brave new world – bring it on.

  • Stanley J. Pinkowski Jr.

    I’m sorry for your brother, he’s only going to go to hell in accordance to his God’s laws. Read your bible, divorce is against it.

  • lm

    I have 2 brothers. They are 2 of my favourite people (out of 3 – I have a beautiful sister too) in the world and I will defend them with my life forever and to eternity. Yes, they sometimes say ridiculous things, and I 1000% don’t agree with them, but they are grown ups with their own thoughts. I listen because I love them and they as people matter to me. The end.
    Soren, your brother’s opinion isn’t what I want for our world, but I understand why you put yourself “out there” on the dreaded internet to speak for him. You are effectively diverting the fire, and I understand you motives entirely. As siblings, we defend – this is what we do, whether its against the kid down the street, the bully at school or the world at large. We defend each other till the end.
    Hopefully, the people your brother’s declarations are directed at don’t really don’t care about one opinion. Everyone is just people and we all need to remember that.
    But, also, everyone is allowed and entitled to a voice on any topic they choose…even if nobody (or hopefully not that many people) agrees.
    My opinion is: Everyone deserves love and happiness. I hate lables and I don’t care who you love as long as they’re adult, consenting and human.
    We can be dissapointed with our families opinions, but just think of the easter/christmas debates! If ever a dull moment…;-) (My fave thing is to say something super poignant and then shoot down the slip n slide)
    (I am terrible at communicating and emoting through text, and apologise for any distress caused by my comment).

  • Hana Chan

    Dear Soren, please don’t lump everyone who responded to your brother’s stupid threat on social media together. I’m one of them, and i certainly don’t feel my response was at all unwarranted, since all i said was that he was either looking for an excuse to get divorced or that he was being exceedingly immature. The similarity between his actions and those of a bad tempered brat threatening to hold his breath till he turns blue if he doesn’t get his way or breaking his toys because he doesn’t want to share them with a younger sibling could not be denied in my mind. Exactly the kind of thing my mom used to call “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. Perhaps you consider that ridiculing him, but i don’t. i am not attacking him personally with an ad hominem rant, i wish no harm to him or his family (which is more than he could claim with regard to mine) i simply find his threat childish.
    I feel every sympathy with you, since i also have a brother who is a fundamentalist (Baptist preacher, no less) who is as hidebound in his attitudes as your brother is acting. and i love him even though he (metaphorically, of course) plunges knives into my heart. but i don’t defend his hateful words or actions. I’m sorry for him, since i know that though his intentions are not horrible and he wants to follow Christ, his actions are certainly NOT what Jesus would do. But i will NEVER claim that he is right or reasonable in this regard. Nor, in my opinion, should you do so.
    Your brother is being selfish, by threatening to throw away a treasure many only dream of if people he doesn’t approve of can also obtain it. by making these threats publicly, he’s being exceedingly rude and a bit hateful as well. but mostly just silly and juvenile. he has no one to blame but himself if people respond to him with hatefulness and immaturity. ‘like begets like’ holds true for manners as well as livestock. or as ye reap, also shall ye sow.
    of course i don’t think people should threaten his family with violence, apart from his wife, they probably have very little to do with this stunt. but this action on his part is worthy of absolutely no respect. he is attacking the families of other people, devaluing them and trying to deny their right to even EXIST as a family. In doing so, he sets his own family up to be innocent victims of retaliatory attacks. is it right? of course not. two wrongs will never make a right. but it IS understandable, you can’t expect people to always be the better person, and i don’t know too many in the LGBT community who hadn’t already had a bellyful of turning the other cheek before they ever heard of your brother
    I don’t know if it helps at all, but i hope that your family stays safe and well through this ordeal, even your brother, who i hope will grow into a wiser and more compassionate Christian, following the Lord’s actions in ministering to those who have been marginalized by societal and religious mores. healing the hurt as Jesus would have done rather than causing more.
    Peace be with you,

    • Soren Jensen

      I agree with all of this. Thanks for your message.

  • Little Sir

    Your brother and his wife, if they’re NOT in a sham of a marriage and pretending that everything is great for you and the parents, are straight up moronic. Sorry. That’s it.

    I’m hoping for your nieces’ and/or nephews’ sakes that your family has a support system in place, 1.) because they don’t deserve the fallout from their parents’ stupidity, and 2.) because their parents are, in fact, incredibly stupid, selfish, and narcissistic. I hope that you and your other relatives are able to give them some sort of grounding in the reality their parents are completely removed from, because children shouldn’t have to be indoctrinated into 19th century thinking simply because their parents can’t be adults.

    That’s it. Sorry if that’s harsh, but it’s the truth.

  • Nicole

    Isn’t divorce a sin? If he is such a Christian man a man of God, follow all of the bible, don’t bend it to your liking. If you are a Christian then be one and commit fully.

    • Chabo Chook

      He isn’t a Christian… he is an active member of the ACL. Pure political hate.

  • @CliffM85

    Truth is not subjective. Truth is demonstrable. Stop wrist-slapping religious bigots and tell them they’re being stupid.

  • Sami Snail

    Soren, sorry, but if your brother is going to commit the graver sin of divorcing, JUST because gays can marry, then YES, he IS a loony and nutter. Sorry, but that is simply not a normal, rational, or mentally well response. He clearly IS a loony and nutter. Sorry, its just the plain truth and you being in denial won’t help the situation.

  • Andrew

    Soren I’m sorry, but while he may have many other good qualities, I can’t assent to your claim that your brother is “compassionate”. His stated plan of action is quite simply the *opposite* of compassion – it is an act of supreme bitterness and spite, meant to demonstrate that he is willing to intentionally damage his own life in order to prevent certain “undesirable” people from obtaining something that he views as “his.”

    Whether that position is part of his unalterable principles is another matter; but the fact is, he knew that his statements would hurt a great many people, and yet he chose to make them anyway, in order to prove a point. In order to demonstrate before the world his own righteousness. These are not the actions of a compassionate man.

  • Steph

    If he and his wife already consider themselves married in God’s eyes, then why did they legally marry in the first place? Why are they waiting to divorce only if homosexuals are allowed to marry? It seems to me that their legal marriage is not important to them, but the legal marriages of countless homosexuals whom they have never met have become supremely important. I’m curious what he believes will be accomplished through this divorce.

  • Sami Snail

    What he is doing is akin to a person being against ‘illegal immigrants’ so they renounce their own citizenship. Or killing his kids in protest because abortion is legal. Or stating he and his wife will no longer have sex, because gays have sex. Maybe you can pass this onto him.

  • Sharlee

    Wow, it has been enlightening to hear from those that are the target of Nick Jensen’s activism. The pain of oppression and judgment. Of being silenced. I think your brother is getting the brunt of a reaction to this. Unfortunately, when a segment of society is denied justice for an extended period of time, it leads to violent uprising. I get where you are coming from. You would love to see an evolved society where we can have different beliefs and and yet civil discourse about them. And then there is reality. Civil discourse is not the line drawn by your brother, as he is the one that advanced it to an attack on what represents equality for so many. Prejudice and discrimination should not be tolerated anywhere in our society, including Christianity. If someone wants to privately hold those beliefs, THAT is what they are entitled to, not open advancement of oppression. You are bothered that your brother and his family have been abused and threatened. I understand that. However, I also understand that it is in response to his abuse and threats to other families and that is a reality that must be faced in this situation. I don’t care how well meaning he is because he is a good Christian man and treats his family well. He is not treating greater society well. He is being exclusive and punitive. Jesus Christ never pulled shit like this. NEVER. The ones he was activist against were the religious, just like your brother, that desired to control and oppress others through their rules and ideas of what life would look like ideally for them, with no consideration of reality. As lovely of a Christian man you think you brother is, he is not lovely at all. He holds hate in his heart and he is teaching it to his children. Christ never asked that of any of his followers. And he certainly didn’t mention homosexuality. If anything, he was open minded towards alternative life styles as he expressed compassion and understanding on those that chose to be eunuchs in the name of their faith. The worst of society can be good to those they agree with, it doesn’t make them good men. Even John says in the bible, you don’t get any credit for showing love to those you love. THAT’s easy. It is loving those that are harder for you to love, that is where the accomplishment lies. The bible says to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s so easy! You have an opinion about something? Fine. You want to do something about it? Ask yourself if you would like it if someone did it to you. If Nick’s right to marry were under attack, he would be none too thrilled. So hows about he doesn’t attack another’s right to marriage.

    • Soren Jensen

      Im not religious. So a few of the references lost me. But i think at its sentiment we are saying the same thing. Thanks for your message.

  • Slade

    As a gay man, I’d like to thank your brother for what he has done. It’s really strengthened and rallied the supporters of marriage equality. It’s probably also help shift those sitting on the fence on this issue to more of the supprting side. What he did has been totally detrimental to his cause and only put his movement on the back foot. With gay marriage hopefully to be approved by law in the near future, he’s only help increase our numbers of supporters. His view on this has shown the fence sitters just how stupid marriage inequality is. Thank-you Soren for your article. I couldnt be more supportive of your stance and views and am surprised by some of responses you got to this article. I hope that you can convince your brother that perhaps for the sake of his entire family, that he might think twice is expressing such opinions so publicly, especially when the only outcome is going to be more support for the cause he is against. He’s won nothing from this. Nothing. But lost a lot. He needs to learn how, when, and where to pick his battles. He’s badly miscalculated this battle.

    • Soren Jensen

      I completely agree with everything you have written. Thanks for your comment. I dont think ive seen this many people engaged in the debate anytime a marriage equality bill has been brought forward. I think Nick has badly misfired and made people more involved and wanting to support equality because of his ridiculous statement. Thank you for understanding my intent. Heres hoping for equality as soon as possible.

  • Danni

    And ‘Christians’ where against that too…
    (I only put it in quotes because as a christian girl I believe people like that aren’t true christians)

  • jeremycanwalk

    ‘a man of deep religious beliefs and he lives by those truths’

    ‘Nick has used his democratic right of free speech to state his point’

    The stories in the bible are not truths, they are beliefs. Make your fu*king mind up, its one or the other.

    We are in Australia, not America. You dont have that right.

    Ive read about one paragraph and was really ready to give this a proper read, but only a few sentences in and im laughing at the screen.

  • Susan Goebel

    I understand your love for your family, im a 100 percent hetrosexual, but think love is love under any terms, perhaps out of love for his family he should not have put himself out there to become a target, and isnt your brother trying to prove support in the wrong way by stating he will divorce and cause division hurting his children? this is not my idea of Christianity, dont people with Christian values welcome all people into their hearts? I have two nieces who are both in same sex relationships, and even if i did not agree, it is their lives, they are beautiful girls, own their own homes, they work and support each other, I think your brother is totally wrong on his stance in the way he out it out there, as things like this always end up hurting the innocent ones, his family, and those same sex couples who just want to live their lives in peace. really i ask people to think deeply ” who are these human beings hurting”? live is short we only get one shot at it so people should live it in a way that makes their lifes journey a happy one to them. I support Marriage equality.

    • suzieQ

      Christians do welcome all people. For people who believe in Jesus, homosexuality is a sin, and the bible warns people not to engage in/or support homosexuality.

  • David Lawrence

    Just a point I would like to add…
    I am a beer-drinking, heterosexual male with somewhat conservative political views and a Catholic background. And I cannot for the life of me understand what the fuss is about. Why on Earth would same-sex marriage pose a threat to me, to my values, my culture or my society? I really have tried to comprehend the views of people like the Jensens and I simply don’t get it. I can only suspect that I have actually important things in my life to worry about.

    I hope I am not being insensitive when I say that the lifestyle of a same-sex couple has less impact on my existence than my neighbours’ two barking dogs. (I think my neighbours are a same-sex couple, but I have never thought to ask. But I do wish their dogs would give it a rest.) And I hope I am not trivializing the issue by saying that I also don’t understand how people can watch MasterChef. The difference is that TV programs like MasterChef are taking over the airwaves and thus DO have an impact on my lifestyle.

    To pre-empt the inevitable expressions of outrage… I don’t apologize for my views on MasterChef. And no, I am not going to throw away my TV set in protest.

  • azza1200

    I can’t wait for them to get divorced, the question is what present to bring to the party?

  • MotherSkadi

    Soren – I saw that notice about the divorce and my first reaction was, “how childish and petulant.” Apparently I am not the only one who saw it that way. Your brother and sister in law can do whatever the law allows, but it doesn’t follow that they are acting like mature, thoughtful adults in doing so. I suppose they haven’t read this letter, and I am doubtful it would make a difference to them anyway but I think it sums up my views very nicely.

    http://evolequals.com/2015/06/11/a-gay-dads-letter-to-the-australian-couple-who-threatens-divorce-if-marriage-equality-is-realized/

  • Dale Norbeck

    “My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of adoption if it is to include rights for gay couples to raise children.”

    “How can we, as good Christians, look to raise children of our own, knowing that a gay couple round the corner are doing the exact same thing in the eyes of the law?”

    “Therefore we took the sad decision to kill our children if the government continues its backing of gay rights to include the right to raise children.”

    “We do not take this step lightly, and nor do we ask other good Christians to follow in our footsteps, just know what we could not in good conscience raise children in eyes of the lord knowing that gays have ruined this for everyone.”

    FUCK your BROTHER dude.. FUCK his crazy ass twice with a phone pole. kill his children? FUCK HIM . and if you defend THIS,, FUCK YOU TOO

    • David Lawrence

      This does not help.
      Tirades like this degrade the issue from human rights to extremist posturing. They convince no one and harden the resistance of misguided individuals who believe they are on the side of God.

  • pnpnpn

    Sorry here Soren, but you have a few things wrong. First, your position as hi sbrother gives you a right to talk about him as a family member. Others only know the public bigot and respond accordingly. Second, it was your brother who dragged the kids into it, citing marriage as tied to procreation – that’s always been a specious argument as no fertility tests or dissolution of marriage by the state based on infertility ever occurs. THird REasonable? hardly. Your brohter has the probelm of what is called a performative contradiction. His weak claim that state marriage laws are changing as breach of contract is ludicrous – his contract was never with the state. Did he threaten to disown his kids when the 2006 FLA was expanded? Did he sell or otherwise divide all property differently and divorce his wife when de facto couples were covered by the marital property law? You have a grandstandign bigot in the family who is attackign people he doesn’t know – and you whinge when they do the same back. You’re as bad a fake victim as he is.

  • sleepd

    Your brother is “actively involved in the Australian Christian Lobby”. This is a political organization, seeking to affect legislation that has an impact on peoples lives, yes? If so, he is doing more than stating an opinion.

    Sorry dude, but he has invited attack into his life, and yours by extension, with his involvement in that organization. Good on you for taking the more egalitarian position. Are you also involved in a political organization that is lobbying for legsilation that may impact your brother’s existence? Say, denial of retirement benefits for his wife? If not, then your defense is lopsided.

    It comes down to this. if you want to lead your life on the red carpet, expect some slings and arrows and toughen up your skin. If not, tell your brother to sit down and pour himself a big cup of STFU and keep his business to himself. No one needs to know.

  • Doug Siva

    Hi Soren, you say your brother is very logical and intelligent in his arguing, from what I gather in the article and the comments made here I have to disagree. He certainly does not know the basis for marriage in history (civil and religious) and it’s religious significance over the years.

    His proposed stunt to divorce if the Marriage Act was amended to include all couples does not add to the current debate not even in a positive or significant way.

    He and his wife have no idea what their own marriage means if they can flippantly decide to divorce, they forget the commitment they gave each other – the vows they made and the religious (Christian) significance undertaken by their marriage.

    Their sentiments and beliefs expressed in wishing to deny someone a natural basic right is the self same sentiments and beliefs; that imprisoned Nelson Mandela, that Rosa Parks stood up to when she took her bus ride in 1955, that told the Nazis where Anne Frank was hiding. Your brother and his wife would have done well in the ancient class system of the 1800s.

    I decided to make a comment not because I am for or against any amendments to the Marriage Act; it is because I am against stupidity.

  • suzieQ

    In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to adopt the role of protector. … The purpose of victim imagery is to make straights feel very uncomfortable; that is, to jam with shame the self-righteous pride that would ordinarily accompany and reward their antigay belligerence, and to lay groundwork for the process of conversion by helping straights identify with gays and sympathize with their underdog status. … the public should be persuaded that gays are victims of circumstance, that they no more chose their sexual orientation than they did, say, their height, skin color, talents, or limitations. … gays should be portrayed as victims of prejudice.

    the above is from the book:
    After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear & Hatred of Gays in the 90s

  • suzieQ

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

  • nashidar

    My issue…which a lot of people tend to ignore…is the assumption that all heterosexual marriages are religious.

    The simple fact is there are many heterosexual couples who are married in
    non religious ceremonies. This fact shows that marriage in society today is not the domain of religion and should not be legislated that way.

    By all means, churches be allowed to refuse to marry homosexual couples.
    Just like they currently refuse to marry heterosexual couples.

    This doesn’t stop heterosexual couples from being legally married in non
    religious ceremonies and should not stop homosexual couples from being
    married in non religious ceremonies.

  • rlb

    Soren- please let us know when your brother’s divorce is final 🙂

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