Australia gay marriage

Opinions vary across different Christian denominations

Even as Australia is striding towards finally doing away with archaic laws banning gay marriage and legally accepting equality of marriage, the Christian community from across the country are having different opinions about the issue. Even though most Australians are rooting for gay rights, religious leaders are not very happy about Australia’s decision to host a public ballot to decide the fate of this debate.

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam have traditionally opposed gay marriage, deeming it ‘unnatural’ and an abomination against nature. However, even among these groups, there are voices that support equality, arguing that it is only in the acceptance of everyone equally that their religious values can truly be glorified.

As a predominantly Christian nation, views on homosexuality vary across the different sects and denominations. While some Churches have argued that same-sex marriage was a fundamental right and that denying gay couples the sacrament of marriage was to go against the fundamental principles of Christianity, others still stood firm in their opposition. The Catholic Church, for example, continues its objection to gay rights. According to Denis Hart, the Archbishop of Melbourne, “The Catholic Church… teaches that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, intended towards the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured.” The Catholic Church, being one of the more organized of the Christian sects, has clearly spelt out its objection to gay marriages. Other denominations, such as the Methodists, are more open to accepting gay couples, thanks to their less rigid rules.

However, almost two-third Australian Catholics have indicated that they are in support of gay rights, arguing that religion should not come in the way of someone’s personal rights. The same is true of the Anglican church members as well. Most of the Australian youth are in full support of gay rights, indicating that even if it does not pass in the upcoming ballot, it will only be a matter of time before the opposing voices die out.

For now, gay rights are being vehemently opposed by conservative groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby.  Lyle Shelton, director of the Australian Christian Lobby unhesitatingly states, "Beyond the wedding ceremony there is a whole bunch of consequences that flow for freedom of speech, for gender ideology in schools and most importantly for the rights of a child to be known and loved by the mother and father." 

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