Setback to same-sex weddings in Australia

11 May 2018

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BISHOPS in Australia have declared that it is not “appropriate” for same-sex weddings to take place in Anglican churches or halls, or the chapels of Anglican schools or other Anglican organisations, given the Church’s doctrine of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

They will give “further consideration” to the appropriate content of informal prayer for same-sex couples outside a public service, as well as to the difference between blessing and solemnising a marriage, and the issues involved in Anglican officials’ being present at a same-sex marriage or blessing.

The Anglican Church’s response to the passing of same-sex marriage legislation in Australia late last year (News, 15 December) was decided at the Bishops’ annual meeting, held in March, in Canberra.

The appropriate mechanism for changing the Church’s doctrine of marriage to permit same-sex marriage was the national Church’s Constitution and Canons, their resolution said. The bishops should “give leadership” in demonstrating trust in this framework, they continued, presumably forestalling any attempts by individual dioceses to make provision for same-sex marriages.

The resolution continued: “We affirm the need for humility and graciousness in discerning the way forward on these issues, recognising there are complex interactions among the theological, pastoral and missional dimensions to these questions.”

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