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Next vote on gay blessings is in New South Wales

04 October 2019

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A BILL for the blessing of a same-sex marriage is to come before a second Australian diocesan synod.

The synod of Newcastle diocese, in regional New South Wales, will debate the Private Member’s Bill when it meets on 25 and 26 October. As with the almost identical regulation passed by Wangaratta diocesan synod last month (News, 6 September), the Bill provides for the blessing of “persons married according to the Marriage Act”. The Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 was amended in 2017 to allow for same-sex marriage.

Another Private Member’s Bill to come before the synod would remove any disciplinary processes for clergy who bless a same-sex marriage, or who are married to a person of the same sex.

In a letter to the diocese, the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Peter Stuart, has said that “there is no doubt that these Private Members’ Bills will cause anguish to some in the diocesan community as well as being a cause of celebration for others.” Should the Bill be passed, he said that he would expect and welcome their referral to the Appellate Tribunal by the Primate.

He assured the diocese of his “commitment to exercise episcopal ministry across the breadth of the comprehensive expression of Anglicanism we have in this diocese”.

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