Vot­ing ‘No’ will deny free­dom of re­li­gion

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS | OPINION -

IT IS a fur­phy to sug­gest, as many ‘No’ vot­ers do, that if our na­tion votes ‘Yes’ the free­dom of its churches will be com­pro­mised and min­is­ters of re­li­gion and civil cel­e­brants will be forced against their will to marry same-sex cou­ples.

They are not forced to marry any­one now (as ev­i­denced by the case of the young cou­ple who were de­nied a church wed­ding be­cause the bride-to-be had pub­li­cised her in­ten­tion of vot­ing ‘Yes’.) And there is no rea­son why the sit­u­a­tion should change.

What con­cerns me just now, though, is my own lack of re­li­gious free­dom. I had two dear friends who had lived in a same-sex re­la­tion­ship for 40 years.

And I have vivid mem­o­ries of the time when one of them was in hospi­tal and seemed likely to die.

When I vis­ited his part­ner he cried on my shoul­der, much as any­one would do in a good het­ero­sex­ual re­la­tion­ship. Their love was real enough: but I was un­able to cel­e­brate their union in our church. And I will never get to do so, be­cause one of them died on a hol­i­day cel­e­brat­ing their “ruby an­niver­sary”.

It is also ridicu­lous to sug­gest that chil­dren raised in a home with two fa­thers or two mothers will be at a dis­ad­van­tage emo­tion­ally ... apart from the teas­ing they could en­counter at school.

Among my friends are two gay cou­ples, who “love to bits” the chil­dren they have adopted ... chil­dren that had been ne­glected and/or abused in so-called “nor­mal” fam­i­lies! — Rev John Ty­man, Mur­willum­bah

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