While many might say divorce is quickest way to destroy the fabric of marriage, an Australian couple see a bigger threat: gay couples.
In fact, Nick and Sarah Jensen are so concerned about their country's increasing embrace of same-sex marriage, that this week husband Nick declared a bizarre protest on the cover of lifestyle weekly Canberra CityNews: if marriage equality passes in Australia, the Christian couple say they will be "forced" to divorce but will still refer to each other as "husband" and "wife," cohabitate, have children, and raise their family together.
Though happily married to "the only woman he's ever loved" for the past ten years, Jensen declared in his OpEd that he's determined that ending their legal marriage may just be the only option if the "government's regulation of marriage ... includes the solemnisation of same sex couples."
And Jensen says he's sure that the silent "majority of Australian people" are behind him.
"Why do this?" Jensen rhetorically asked the question many readers are likely wondering. "The reason is that, as Christians, we believe marriage is not a human invention," he answered in the OpEd, later adding that "This is what we have to do as Christians who believe in a Biblical definition of marriage, that we can't see that definition change in a way that no longer reflects God's truth."
Yet Jensen says he will clearly be able to remain his wife's husband after divorce, even if the state changes the "fundamental" heterosexual definition of their union. "Many Christians, like my wife and me, as well as people of other faiths, will simply reject the need for the State to recognise their marriage," he explains. "Instead they will look to the authority of their church, mosque or temple."
Within hours of publication, Jensen's editorial was overwhelmingly condemned by online readers, many of whom questioned the Canberra CityNews's decision to make the couple its cover story, as well as the choice to not disclose the fact that Jensen — the director of the Lachlan Macquaries Institute — also works for the Australian Christian Lobby, the country's leader in campainging against marriage equality.
"Why the Citynews thought one couple's narrow-minded hate-filled opinion piece is a news item in 2015 is beyond me," wrote one reader below the article. On the newspaper's Facebook page another wrote, "This is absolutely disgusting, not to mention homophobic. I can't believe such as article was published. You should be ashamed and you definite owe to [sic] gay community an apology," according to Australia's news.au.com.
In response, the Citynews's editor Ian Meikle defended his choice to run Jensen's piece to news.au.com, saying, "I think this couple had an interesting angle, and that it was newsworthy. The article does not reflect the opinion of the paper. We published arguments and I decided it was a serious enough argument to genuinely warrant some attention."
"It's an unusual love story," he continued. "And what would life be if people didn't have different ways of life?"