Newcastle synod approves same-sex blessings

08 November 2019


THE synod of Newcastle diocese, in New South Wales (NSW), has become the second Australian diocese to approve the blessing of same-sex marriages. The regulation for “A blessing of persons married according to the Marriage Act” is almost the same as that passed in August by the diocese of Wangaratta (News, 6 September), and includes the same form of service for the blessing.

The Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Peter Stuart, told the synod that the service would not be used while the Appellate Tribunal considered the Wangaratta regulation, referred to it by the Primate, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier.

Dr Stuart also said that he had spoken “frankly” to the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, about his comments that supporters of same-sex marriage should leave the Church (News, 25 October). Dr Davies’s comments “did not reflect the rapport that he has created among the NSW bishops”, Dr Stuart said.

Newcastle synod has also amended its Clergy Discipline ordinance so that clergy “cannot be charged with an offence by choosing to participate or not participate in the blessing of a legally solemnised marriage of two persons of the same sex”. It also provides that “the legal marriage of a member of the clergy to a person of the same sex is not grounds for a charge of offence.”

During the same weekend, the synods of the dioceses of Ballarat, in regional Victoria, and Willochra, in regional South Australia, passed resolutions of support for LGBTIQA+ Australians.

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