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Will they split to prove a point?

Nick and Sarah Jensen vowed to divorce if same-sex marriage became legal. Picture: Supplied
Nick and Sarah Jensen vowed to divorce if same-sex marriage became legal. Picture: Supplied

THEY vowed to divorce if Australia said Yes to same sex marriage.

They've been in a holding pattern since the postal survey gave them their answer.

But Nick and Sarah Jensen said they'd wait to see what shape the law took in parliament.

Now they know.

And, well, their response might disappoint you.

In a statement to news.com.au immediately after Australia's House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to legalise same sex marriage, Mr Jensen backed away from his once-bold stance.

"My previous public comments regarding civil divorce never envisaged me separating from my wife, but rather our marriage from the state," he said.

"The legislation currently makes it untenable for us to do this under the law. The point we were highlighting and that still stands however is the fact that a redefinition of marriage changes the agreement under which we were originally married.

"We will be making no further comment."

The Christian couple captured national attention in 2015 with a very public pledge to end their marriage - despite the fact they're very much in love - if gay couples were also allowed to wed.

"My wife and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary but later this year we may be getting a divorce," Mr Jensen told Canberra City News back then.

Look away now, Mr and Mrs Jensen. Liberal MP Warren Entsch celebrates with Labor MP Linda Burney. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP
Look away now, Mr and Mrs Jensen. Liberal MP Warren Entsch celebrates with Labor MP Linda Burney. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP

"As Christians, we believe marriage is not a human invention," he wrote.

"Our view is that marriage is a fundamental order of creation. Part of God's intimate story for human history. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman before a community in the sight of God. And the marriage of any couple is important to God regardless of whether that couple recognises God's involvement or authority in it.

"My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government's regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnisation of same sex couples."

But he said it would not be a traditional divorce.

"After our divorce, we'll continue to live together, hopefully for another 50 years. And, God willing, we'll have more children. We'll also continue to refer to each other as 'husband' and 'wife' and consider ourselves married by the Church and before God."

After the public divorce proclamation, 100,000 people signed up to attend a Facebook event called 'Celebrating Nick and Sarah Jensen's divorce'.

When the same sex survey Yes result was announced last month, quick-thinking lawyer Michael Tiyce offered to help them with the legalities of divorce.

"My firm does quite a bit of pro bono work in family law each year in the gay, lesbian and trans community. I thought offering assistance to Nick and Sarah would be an excellent way of reaching out across communities with my family law expertise, because quite simply they are going to need it," he said.

It would be needed for questions like whether the couple could legally divorce without separating for one year, as Federal law requires.

The Jensen's didn't take up the offer.

Mr Jensen told the Mail Online he and Sarah would wait to see what any change to the marriage law is before publicly announcing their future plans.

'We just need to see the legislation and if it all goes that way,' he said.

Picture of a post on Nick Jensen's Facebook page. Source: Facebook/Nick Jensen
Picture of a post on Nick Jensen's Facebook page. Source: Facebook/Nick Jensen

'Then we know what situation we're in and what we're going to do.'

The pair maintained a low profile in the media throughout the debate, but the Nick Jensen Facebook page carried a picture of the couple with an, "It's OK to vote No" Coalition for Marriage banner, and featured posts with Mr Jensen debating the issue.

Mr and Mrs Jensen married at the age of 21 and were high school sweethearts for several years before that.

"When we signed that official-looking marriage certificate 10 years ago at Tuggeranong Baptist Church, we understood that the state was endorsing marriage, as currently defined, as the fundamental social institution - with all that this implied," Mr Jensen wrote in 2015.

"But if this is no longer the case, then we no longer wish to be associated with this new definition.

"The truth is, 'marriage' is simply too important. It is a sacred institution, ordained by God. It has always been understood to be that exclusive relationship where one man and one woman become "one flesh". Any attempt to change the definition of marriage by law is not something in which we are able to partake."

The response to their declaration was vicious, with Mr Jensen's brother, Soren, penning his own article, saying that while he disagreed with Nick's stance, he respected and defended his right to say and believe it.

"He is not a loony, a religious nut or any of the many other descriptions being thrown around. Nor is he a hateful person," Soren wrote.

"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.

"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.".

Topics:  divorce editors picks same sex marriage


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