ROME, October 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The legalization of same-sex “marriage” in Australia could push Christian churches out of their historic role in solemnizing legal marriages altogether, according to one archbishop.

Archbishop Barry Hickey of the archdiocese of Perth said late last month that the archdiocese would cancel its registration that allows it to celebrate legal marriages if the government attempted to force them to participate in same-sex ceremonies.

“We might be back to the ghetto,” Hickey told parishioners at St. Ninian and St. Chad in Maylands. “We can’t do those marriages at all. And if the law forces us to, we cancel our registration as marriage celebrants. We just don’t do it.”

Hickey added, “We continue to perform Church marriages but we can’t perform the marriage where there is a basic objection.”

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There is an all-out push on in Australia by gay activists to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Last month the Tasmanian lower house voted to pass a motion to legalize the novel institution “in principle.” The Labor party in the state of Victoria also recently said that they would pressure Prime Minister Julia Gillard to support same-sex “marriage.”

However, earlier this year, the Australian senate voted overwhelmingly to reject a same-sex “marriage” motion. The motion was defeated in a vote of 31 to 9, with only the Senate’s nine Greens voting in favor of it.

Currently all states and territories in Australia grant cohabiting same-sex partners the same rights as cohabiting heterosexual couples. In New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria, same-sex partners may register as domestic partners and civil partnerships are performed in the Australian Capital Territory.