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.”