Churches encouraged to support same sex marriage

Churches encouraged to support same sex marriage

UnitingCare NSW.ACT Executive Director the Rev. Harry Herbert has called on Christian churches to support reforms for marriage equality.

Mr Herbert said that, while many ministers and congregations supported equal rights, Christian churches were out of step with the community on social reforms such as same sex marriage.

“Without embracing progress on other important social reforms such as same sex adoption, foster care, and medically supervised injecting, countless lives would be worse off today,” he said.

“Despite having to apologise for past paternalism in Aboriginal policies, treatment of children in church-run institutions, and the bad behaviour of some of their clergy, churches have failed to learn from their mistakes when social issues arise.

“Marriage today is essentially a social custom. Only some 40 per cent of marriages in Australia are solemnised by church clergy, yet Christian churches still mistake their role as regulators of a dynamic social institution.”

Countries that have legal recognition of same sex marriage include Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and states of the United States.

“Examples overseas prove the arguments against same sex marriage as false. In the end, same sex couples want to marry for the same reason as the rest of us. They love each other and want formal recognition of their relationship,” Mr Herbert said.

“Disturbingly, some use a theological opposition to same sex marriage as a disguised prejudice towards same sex relationships. Churches have no place supporting such backwards views.

“Church leaders’ selective reading of biblical verses tarnishes their good works in the community through the impact they have on those that are discriminated against.”

Mr Herbert said, “The same sex marriage debate offers an opportunity for them to concede the changing social views while retaining their own patterns of behaviour as they wish.”

See Church misses big picture on same-sex marriage.


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2 thoughts on “Churches encouraged to support same sex marriage”

  1. I fully agree with Harry Herbert’s conclusions, and wish other church leaders would also speak out.

    However, I wouldn’t frame it entirely in terms of ‘catching up’ with society. I am sure Harry wouldn’t either, put that crudely. This is a classic ‘Christ and culture’ question.

    I see as as yet another opportunity where the christian community of faith has an opportunity to reconsider the implications of our deepest evangelical insights (about the Gospel, God’s grace, the image of God in all, etc).

    As with slavery, the role of women, and various forms of marriage over the centuries, we are now coming to a deeper understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and the relationships that ‘constitute’ our lives. Same-sex marriage can be one such relationship.

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