This church has been bombarded with same-sex wedding bookings — but there's a catch

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Updated

December 08, 2017 07:45:34

When Australia returned an overwhelming “yes” vote in the same-sex marriage survey, a somewhat unexpected thing happened.

The Paddington Uniting Church in Sydney was bombarded with requests from gay couples to get married in the church.

For its resident minister Ben Gilmore — a gay man himself — it was affirmation that religion and same-sex attraction did not have to be at odds.

“Faith and spirituality are core to what it means to be human, like our gender and our sexuality is, so having the right to marry is important for everyone,” he said.

“I think there is lots of LGBTIQ people in the church who would be keen to have their union celebrated in the church.”

Reverend Gilmore said the Paddington Uniting Church had a policy of supporting LGBTIQ people for the past six years, but he understood not all institutions felt the same.

His previous experience at an Anglican placement — which refused to place gay clergy — had left him feeling heartbroken.

“As a person who is gay, but also part of the church, I want to apologise,” he said.

“The church has been appalling to LGBTIQ people telling them there’s no place for them, that there’s no place in this realm of God’s kingdom, that they are sinful.

“So there is a real grief there. Churches need to acknowledge that and apologise for that.”

Reverend Gilmore has been with his partner Scott Miner for 11 years and is one of many hoping to get engaged in the new year now Parliament has passed the same-sex marriage bill.

Yet before that can happen there is still another change that needs to take place.

The Uniting Church needs to change its preamble to the marriage rights to say marriage is between two people, rather than just a man and a woman.

It has been a long-running debate and will be a matter for discussion at the church’s assembly in July.

“We’ve been having a conversation to change the preamble for 20 years,” he said.

“I am certainly hoping the inclusion of LGBTIQ couples into the institution of marriage with God’s blessing will occur.

“It’s going to be a tough battle because the Uniting Church works on consensus, but if all else fails, we can start a more formal process where members will vote on the change.

“I think it’s important all religions recognise that there are LGBTIQ people everywhere, whether it’s in the church, workplace, culture — we need to be treated with love and respect.”

Topics:

religion-and-beliefs,

marriage,

gays-and-lesbians,

government-and-politics,

australia

First posted

December 08, 2017 07:43:07



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