Rockhampton Anglican Bishop David Robinson
Rockhampton Anglican Bishop David Robinson Contributed

Bishop says same sex marriage 'deeply personal' and complex

IT IS often strong religious adherents who maintain a traditional view towards marriage.

Hence, the Morning Bulletin approached two of the region's most prominent religious organisations, the Anglican and Catholic churches, to gauge their stance regarding the current same-sex marriage survey.

Rockhampton's Anglican Bishop David Robinson said the debate about same sex marriage was a deeply personal and complex issue for all of us.

"Long held views are being challenged and this is destabilising," Bishop Robinson said.

"The yes/no vote on the ballot paper does no real justice to many of the concerns that have been expressed on both sides of this debate.

"Let's admit there are contradictory views that are held and argued passionately, sadly, sometimes, with little respect for the views of others."

He said unfortunately the Christian church has not always been a safe place for those who are different.

"Members of the LGBTI community have not always felt welcomed, accepted and loved. For this, I am deeply sorry," Bishop Robinson said.

"The Christian church is called to love and respect all people, welcoming them as children of our God."

Bishop Robinson said the Anglican Church of Australia, at its recent General Synod, affirmed marriage as a lifelong and exclusive union between a man and a woman.

"This is the view held by the majority of Christian churches and I, personally, see no need to change this doctrine," he said.

The bishop questioned how those with differing views would be protected if the 'yes' vote prevailed.

"Can a minister of religion refuse to conduct the wedding of a same sex couple because of their religious conviction? Will this right be protected?" Bishop Robinson said.

"Unfortunately, thus far we have not seen how religious freedoms will be protected.

"Political promises mean little. I hope we will see some certainty in this matter soon."

Bishop Robinson said it was important that all voices are heard and encouraged all members of the Anglican Church in Central Queensland to "exercise their democratic right, to prayerfully consider the issues, to make their choice and vote".

Although Rockhampton's Catholic Bishop Michael McCarthy was overseas and the church was unwilling to provide a comment, the Catholic Church had a very clear position opposing marriage equality on their website.

A photo banner quotes Pope Francis saying, "... only the ... union between a man and a woman has a ... role to play in society as a stable commitment that bears fruit in new life."

The Catholic Church of Australia said in a statement regarding same-sex marriage survey to, "please vote 'no' to keep marriage as a unique relationship between a woman and a man".

"Marriage is also a fundamental institution for all societies because of its importance in uniting spouses as potential parents and in providing for the upbringing of their children," the Catholic Church said.

"The recognition that marriage is between a man and a woman is not the assertion of bigotry, religious dogma or irrational tradition, but a recognition of human ecology."

By their saying that marriage "is a relationship between a man and a woman, it was not a criticism of other kinds of relationships" and their stance "did not preclude persons of the same sex entering into other legal relationships".

"Redefining marriage would deliberately create motherless or fatherless families, which would deprive children of at least one of their biological parents, and would put the preferences or interests of adults before the right and interests of children.

The Catholic Church asserted that genderless marriage would have flow-on consequences, where "essential roles like motherhood and fatherhood would likely be erased from the law to the detriment of children".

They pointed to the challenging of religious freedoms in cases overseas where the definition of marriage has changed.

"In Australia too we have already seen Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous taken to the state anti-discrimination commission for distributing a booklet explaining the long held Christian view of marriage, upon which societies through the ages have been built," they said.

"The consequences of changing marriage are very real."