NSW Presbyterian Church In Australia Threatens To Withdraw From Marriage Act Should Gov’t Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
The NSW Presbyterian Church threatens withdrawal of the entire church from Australia’s Marriage Act should the government legalize same sex marriage, news said.
After a key meeting last week, the assembly of the NSW Presbyterian Church came up with a proposal to the government to let the church be restrained from administering legal marriages.
“The assembly considered what the church should do if marriage is redefined in Australia. It decided to ask the General Assembly of Australia to withdraw the whole church from the Marriage Act, so that our minsters could no longer solemnize marriages under the Marriage Act,” says the July 3 pastoral letter which was quoted by the Australian.
Assembly moderator for NSW Kevin Murray said the church was troubled on a possible discrimination suit but its principal reason was hesitation in taking part in “something that is really not marriage,” according to the news.
“A couple would go to the civil registry. They would get married there. That is the legal marriage and then they would go to a church and have a church wedding,” Murray was quoted as saying.
Legislators in Australia are divided on the issue of marriage equality and on the concept of allowing a conscience vote. Prime Minister Tony Abbott was facing a mounting pressure to attack the issue head on before the election campaign would start.
Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson’s proposal connecting same-sex marriages to new protection on religious freedoms was given positive reception. Wilson proposed to separate civil from religious marriage traditions, yet both shall be given equal treatment of laws. Said proposal shall also give a right to wedding service providers who can choose to limit their business to traditional weddings, the Australian reports.
Ewen Jones, a member of parliament, said the government should allow a conscience vote, lest the issue will strangle them during election. But Senator Eric Abetz warned against legalization of same-sex marriage, citing the move would make precedence for laws legalizing polygamy.
Supporters for marriage equality stormed at Northbridge’s Russell Square in Perth last Sunday, July 5 in a “love rally,” urging the government to pass the bill recognizing marriage between homosexuals.
Calls for marriage equality reverberating throughout the world was magnified by the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling favoring same-sex marriage in all 50 states.