Priest calls for gay marriage vote in Parliament
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.”
The Reverend Chris Bedding.