Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop is the latest marriage equality opponent to publicly question the outcome of the postal survey.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher said that because 20 per cent of eligible voters abstained, support for marriage equality is only 49 per cent, Out in Perth has reported.
By the same measure, the 38.4 per cent No vote represents only 30.5 per cent of the people who could have voted.
“While people are talking about overwhelming support, it’s still not clear that it is overwhelming,” the Archbishop said.
“What is clear is we are very divided over this issue and probably many others. The consensus in Australia is somewhat fractured.”
Other opponents of marriage equality have similarly claimed that the number of non-voters in the survey imply lower support for same-sex marriage.
In the days following the survey result announcement, some No voters even called for a recount of ballots.
Archbishop Fisher said he wanted religious protections included in the marriage reform bill and that he thought most Yes voters would agree.
“I am quite sure that most of the people that ticked Yes were not thinking that they don’t want St Vincent de Paul not doing housing projects anymore because they are a Catholic organisation, but that is the kind of consequence that can flow,” he said.
Australian Marriage Equality co-chair Anna Brown said legislation frequently doesn’t match religious doctrine around marriage.
“We have to remember that there have been many changes to our laws that are out of step with religious doctrine, such as legalising no-fault divorce and interracial marriage, and the sky hasn’t fallen in,” she said.