Priest calls for gay mar­riage vote in Par­lia­ment

Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Lynn Gri­er­son

CLER­GY­MAN Chris Bed­ding ad­vo­cates politi­cians should do what they were elected to do and pass into law what the ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians want: mar­riage equal­ity.

The Dar­ling­ton-Belle­vue rec­tor at St Cuth­bert’s Angli­can Church said sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of the church rep­re­sent­ing the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans, and/or in­ter­sex com­mu­ni­ties wanted equal rights on mar­riage.

“The real is­sue is how it hap­pens. A plebiscite has been blocked and is op­posed by Aus­tralian re­li­gious lead­ers who fear it could un­leash ag­gres­sive and hurt­ful lan­guage.

“Peo­ple very will­ingly de­mor­alise and de­hu­man­ise peo­ple and there is real con­cern for the well­be­ing of the LGBTI com­mu­nity if there is dis­course about their hu­man rights,” he said.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull an­nounced on Tues­day that $122 mil­lion will be spent on a vol­un­tary postal vote on same-sex mar­riage run by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics.

The postal vote will have a bal­lot pa­per re­turn date of Novem­ber 7. A re­sult would likely be de­clared by Novem­ber 15 to clear the way for a vote in the fi­nal fort­night of Par­lia­ment, start­ing Novem­ber 27.

Mr Bed­ding joined a peace­ful rally of 500 peo­ple on Satur­day call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to hold a free vote in Par­lia­ment on same-sex mar­riage.

“The view was to have a pos­i­tive, thought­ful and lov­ing rally. Peo­ple were singing and chant­ing and a lot of peo­ple stopped to lis­ten,” the Rev­erend said.

Polling by Reachtell on Au­gust 2 showed vot­ers in the Lib­eral-held seats of Hasluck and Swan want the free vote, say cam­paign­ers for GetUp! And Equal Love WA.

The elec­torates cho­sen for the poll rep­re­sented elec­torates where Fed­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tives are un­de­clared on mar­riage equal­ity and at risk of los­ing their seats at the next elec­tion.

A mo­tion by Mr Bed­ding to have same-sex re­la­tion­ships recog­nised by the Angli­can Church was passed by the Perth Synod in Jan­uary 2014.

He said while the mo­tion stopped short of sup­port­ing same-sex mar­riage, it did ac­knowl­edge com­mit­ted same­sex re­la­tion­ships could co­ex­ist with the le­gal recog­ni­tion of mar­riage be­tween a man and a woman.

“If mar­riage equal­ity was en­acted in the fu­ture, a same­sex mar­riage would not be cel­e­brated un­der the cur­rent ar­range­ments,” he said.

“But there is a move­ment for change. There has been talk for a long time; what may be in­con­ceiv­able at the mo­ment may be a cat­a­lyst for change and we fol­low coun­tries like Scot­land, the US and Canada.”

Pic­ture: David Baylis d449774

The Rev­erend Chris Bed­ding.

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