Religious Leaders Back Marriage Equality

Since 2004, the Marriage Act 1961 has defined marriage as "the union of a man and a woman" and law expressly declares that unions between same-sex couples entered into outside the country are not to be recognised as marriage in Australia.

It is claimed [1] that this definition reflects standards and the mores of contemporary Australia. Yet actual surveys of Australian opinion consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Australians support an amendment to the Act that allows same-sex marriage [2].

It has also been argued that marriage has never been defined other than being between a man and a woman [3]. Even if this was true - which it isn't - the limited range of freedoms imposed by past societies should not serve as criteria for justifying contemporary and future discrimination.

Others have further argued [4] that marriage exists to regulate the sexual relationships of men and women to ensure the well-being of children, a rather confusing statement to those heterosexual couples who, through choice or biology, do not have children or further children.

Representatives of the Labor Party and the Liberal-National Party coalition have consistently asserted [5] that their opposition does not constitute discrimination against same-sex relationships. With no sense of contradiction, they claim "we do not think there should be discrimination in any way, shape or form" - except that same-sex couples cannot marry.

It is a blindness or a deception on the part of our politicians that they do not recognise that prohibiting same-sex marriage is indeed discrimination.

What is left is usually unspoken; that the continuing discrimination against same-sex marriage is due to religious justifications, that in civil society particular religious definitions of marriage still holds sway, despite any claims of secularism and a separation of Church and State.

We, the undersigned, are Ministers of religion and religious celebrants who do not hold this old and discriminatory view. We oppose the continued prohibition of the right of marriage to same-sex couples and argue that it is religious discrimination to continue these laws. We call upon the Federal Government and the Opposition - and the incoming Government, whomever they may be - to make a commitment that celebrants may conduct same-sex marriages with full legal rights.

Signatories:

Peter Abrehart, Chairperson and Celebrant, Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church, Victoria
Rev. Dr. Ian Ellis, Sydney Unitarian Church, New South Wales
Rev. Mark J Dunn, St John's Uniting Church Parish Essendon, Victoria
Rev. Robert Humphreys, Uniting Church Minister, Coburg Victoria
Rev. Tony Johnson, Uniting Church Minister, Strathmore, Victoria
Rev. Peter Ferguson, Western Australian Unitarian Association, Western Australia
Rev. Dr. Robert Stringer, Uniting Church, Heidelberg, Victoria
Sri Rama Ramanuja Acarya, Sydney, New South Wales
Rev. Leanne Jenski, Uniting Church, Blackwood, South Australia
Rev. Gretchen Thomas, Unitarian-Universalist minister, Frankston, Victoria
Emeritus Professor Rev. William Loader, Uniting Church chaplain, Murdoch University, Western Australia
Bob Russell, Unitarian celebrant, Montmorency, Victoria
Josephina Jordan, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Celebrant, Mitcham, South Australia
Rev Dr Ian Tozer, Uniting Church, Pinjarra, Western Australia
Helen Bayes, Celebrant and Director of Silver Wattle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Study Centre, Bungendore, New South Wales
Marybeth Zang, Celebrant, Pagan Ritual Group, Lilyfield, New South Wales
Rev Dr Eilidh St John, Tasmanian Unitarian Community
Rev Jed Perkins, Unitarian Universalist, Toowoomba, Queensland
Rev Kathryn Crissmann, Brisbane Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Queensland

Notes:

[1] Senator George Brandis, Queenland, Shadow Attorney-General.
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:...
[2] 57% of respondents supported same-sex marriage in the Newspoll opinion poll of 2007, and 60% in the Galaxy opinion poll of of 2009. This are the two major opinion polls conducted on the subject in the last five years.
[3] George Brandis, op cit.
[4] Alby Schultz, MHR, Member for Hume
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:...
[5] Senator Nick Sherry, Tasmania, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:... and Senator George Brandis, Hansard http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:...

Comments

Gaining Momentum

Moves in Australian Labor Party to accept a change of policy. Gillard is still digging in her heels.The Victorian Liberal Party seems to be running scared on the issue.

Another group has the gall to claim that they speak on behalf of all Christians, whereas it seems that at least some more well-acknowledged Christians do not agree with the fundamentalist stance - and on a related note in Sydney too. Of course, according to the self-styled "Christian Lobby" it would seem that neither the Anglicans or the Uniting Church or Quakers (let alone the people who signed the declaration above) are "really" Christians.

Oh, and Spong has had enough of fundamentalist Christians.

Father Bob breaks ranks!

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/ill-do-gay-weddings-fr-bob-mag...

GAY marriage lobbyists have welcomed Father Bob Maguire's public pledge to conduct gay union ceremonies, but claim he's not the first priest to speak out in favour of the cause.

Pitt St Uniting Church

The minister of Sydney’s Pitt Street Uniting Church has declared homophobia to be sinful ahead of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) on May 17.

http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/australia-news/new-south-wales-news/...

More to the list...

And another...

AN Anglican priest in Gosford has made a public stand in support of same- sex marriage.

With the Australian Labor Party approving a conscience vote on the issue at the weekend’s National Conference, Father Rod Bower spoke out in favour of marriage equality.

http://express-advocate-gosford.whereilive.com.au/news/story/anglican-pr...

And another...

MATT Glover, the Lilydale Baptist pastor who supports gay marriage, has been sacked at a secret church meeting to which he was not invited.
The Lilydale church office yesterday confirmed that Mr Glover was no longer senior pastor, but said the congregation had been instructed to remain silent.
The Age reported last week that the church was in turmoil over Mr Glover's support for same-sex marriage on a gay website two months ago.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/pastor-supporter-of-gay-marriage-out-i...

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/pastor-supporter-of-gay-marriage-out-i...

Add Rev. Harry Herbert

Perth Anglicans say yes

Anglicans in Perth [Western Australia] have voted in favour of recognising same-sex rela-tionships, including marriage.

The Reverend Chris Bedding, of the Darlington-Bellevue Anglican parish, said the church’s synod had backed the resolution last year but it had been vetoed by the archbishop.

Under the church’s rules, the resol-ution returned this year and a two-thirds majority was needed this time for it to pass.

Father Bedding said he was pleas-antly surprised there was a strong “yes” vote from both clergy and lay people, up significantly on last year.

“A lot of people clearly changed their mind over the year,” he said.

The archbishop can again veto the resolution or give his assent.

Father Bedding said the resolution recognised diversity within the Dio-cese of Perth, both in terms of sexual identity and theologies of human
sexuality. It also noted the support from many within the church for com-mitted same-sex couples being able to register their relationship as
civil unions.

And this is what happens..

This morning I took part in a prayer meeting at Parliament and received a letter in support of marriage equality signed by 106 prominent Christian leaders. Thanks to Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, Fr Peter MacLeod-Miller and Rev Angus McLeay for making sure that the 60% of Christians who support marriage equality are heard.

As Rev Mayman said, “We are working to raise up the voices of Christian people and people of faith who believe that relationships ought to be strengthened and supported in any way we can. And we believe this because of our faith, not in spite of our faith.”
Absolutely inspiring!!

https://www.facebook.com/WarrenEntschMP/photos/a.115722045263392.1073741...

Hindu clergy show support for marriage equality

The Australian Council of Hindu clergy has proclaimed its support for marriage equality.

Whilst the council acknowledges that marriage, (vivaha) as defined by Hindu Dharma Shastras is between a man and a woman for the purpose It acknowledges that in Australian secular law, marriage is not a sacrament (samskara).

In a statement online the society writes:

“[marriage] is about the legal union of two persons and involves social security, inheritance of property, legal and human rights and social privileges. It has nothing to do with vivaha as interpreted by Shastra — the two concepts are separate — the religious vs the secular.

“We affirm that the samskara (religious sacrament) of vivaha (Hindu Marriage) is technically between a Hindu man and woman and not applicable to same sex couples — the traditional Vedic mantras are very specific and cannot be modified.

“[But] We totally support human rights and equality of gender within the secular Australian society in which we live, and have no opposition whatsoever to any changes in the law and the legal definition of marriage that the democratic society deems necessary for the well-being and happiness of all citizens whatever be their gender.”

http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/national/hindu-clergy-show-support-for...