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The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Primate urges Anglicans to vote in postal poll on same-sex marriage.

Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier, as Anglican Primate of Australia, has encouraged all Anglicans to vote in the postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage, saying Federal Parliament would find it hard to ignore the result if either side achieved a big majority.

Dr Freier said that although he did not believe the Church was likely to revise its doctrine on marriage, “the Church also understands the desire of two people to express their commitment of love and self sacrifice to each other, and that Christians have not always shown the respect or perspective they should”.

“We understand that sometimes gays, lesbians and others have felt judged and rejected, even ostracised, inside the Church and that we have to be much more pastorally sensitive in future,” he wrote in a blog on 26 August.

Archbishop Freier wrote that what mattered was that Anglicans approached the question with prayer and confidence in the Church’s teaching “as well as kindness in our speech towards those with whom we disagree”. He also indicated that he intended to vote “No” in the plebiscite.

“Although the plebiscite is not legally binding, I believe that Parliament will find it hard to ignore the express will of a sizeable majority, should either side achieve that,” Dr Freier wrote.

“Anglicans, like other Australians, have a wide range of opinions on same-sex marriage, supporting or opposing it for a variety of reasons in accordance with their conscience and their understanding of the principles and issues. I do not presume to advise others how they should vote, though I myself intend to vote ‘no’.

“I think Anglicans can provide, and indeed already are providing, a model for wider society in the courteous and eirenic way we disagree, respecting that each side’s position can be a principled and considered one, and without vilifying our opponents.” The question will be discussed at General Synod next month, and I hope and trust that we will do so in the most generous spirit.

“As I wrote to Australia’s Anglican bishops late last year, before Parliament rejected the first plebiscite proposal, if same-sex marriage becomes law the Church must accept that it will then be part of the landscape. We can still stand for and offer holy matrimony between a man and a woman as a sacred ordinance given by God, while accepting that the state has endorsed a wider view of marriage.

“The doctrine of the Book of Common Prayer remains unchanged, that marriage is between a man and a woman, under God, forsaking all others until death parts them. I do not believe that the Anglican Church in Australia is likely to revise its doctrine of marriage.”

General Synod, the national parliament of the Anglican Church of Australia, is due to consider a motion on same-sex marriage and an apology to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community when it meets in Maroochydore, Queensland, from 3rd – 8th September 2017.

Further perspectives on same-sex marriage.

This month’s TMA includes an article which offers two different perspectives on same-sex marriage. The first which supports upholding the traditional teaching on marriage, and the second which supports allowing same-sex couples to marry. The article can be found on page one and continues on page 15. There is also a thought provoking article by biblical scholar Robyn Whitaker, copies of which are available at the back of the church for you to take home and read. It is hoped that all of this information may help you come to a more informed decision of your own about how you will vote in the postal plebiscite.

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