Christians of different denominations in Perth have banded together to fight for equal marriage ahead of a public vote in Australia.
Ahead of a public vote on equal marriage in Australia, much attention has been given to the ‘religious freedom’ of churches who oppose same-sex marriage, who will be free to not carry out same-sex weddings no matter the result.
But not all religious groups agree.
And in Perth, an unlikely alliance has formed between the city’s Christian denominations.
Representatives of Anglican, Catholic, Uniting Churches, Quakers and the Chuch of Christ met this week in the city – to agree to fight for equal marriage together.
The Dean of Perth, the Very Rev Richard Pengelley, told Channel 7 that was important to respect the religious freedom of denominations and clergy whose beliefs include equal marriage rights for same-sex unions.
He said: “I have on my staff a number of priests, some of whom are willing to perform same-sex marriages and some of whom have an objection. That’s OK – that’s called religious freedom.”
Speaking to the West Australian, he said: “As the father of a same-sex attracted adult child and school and university chaplain, I have lived with the struggles of identity and inequality, especially in young people.”
“Rather I see it is a valid expression of human sexuality along a spectrum.
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“Jesus did not say anything about either same-sex relationships or marriage but did say a great deal about divorce and remarriage – the morality of both most contemporary Christians accept have changed since his time.”
He is part of the group Australian Christians for Marriage Equality.
The group’s says: “We come from all over Australia and from every part of Christ’s church, united in supporting marriage equality because of our faith.
“Christians are called to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to all people, without discrimination.
“As Australians of faith we believe marriage is important. Marriage matters because it is one of the most powerful ways we acknowledge the goodness of a couple’s love for and commitment to each other.
“We believe there is no difference in goodness between the love and commitment of a straight couple and a same-sex couple.”
Ahead of the vote there has been a surge in homophobic hate speech in the country, with leaflets distributed in Sydney bearing the slogan ‘stop the fags’ and linking gay people to ‘child predators’.
The ‘Coalition for Marriage’ has recently put out materials suggesting that letting gay couples marry will deprive children of a normal childhood and make them transgender.
Meanwhile, leading politicians have brandished the slogans ‘it’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve’ and compared gay weddings to marrying the Eiffel Tower.