The Synod of the Anglican Church of Western Australia has passed a motion saying that gay civil unions can co-exist with heterosexual marriages – backing same-sex couples having their relationships legally recognized.
Rector of Darlington-Bellevue Anglican parish, the Reverend Chris Bedding told ABC News he had not been confident that his motion would pass but it was backed by more than the two-thirds majority needed for it to pass.
‘I thought there was no way that the motion would be passed,’ Bedding said.
‘We presented a motion saying that the Anglican Church and the Diocese of Perth would like to acknowledge that legal recognition of same-sex relations can coexist with legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman.
‘That had already come last year, it had essentially been vetoed by the Archbishop and it came back this year and the bar was set even higher.
Perth Archbishop Roger Herft now has 30 days to decide whether to assent or dissent to the motion.
Advocates for same-sex marriage in Australia welcome the motion, demonstrating the will of the diocese to recognize same sex couples’ right to have their relationships legally recognized.
‘Today's message, from the clergy and lay people of the diocese of Perth, is reflective of the ever increasing community support to achieve social justice in Australia,’ Australian Marriage Equality acting director Ivan Hinton said.
‘Support for the legal recognition of the relationships of same-sex couples is strongly held by many Australians, including people of strong and sincerely held Christian faith. It is increasingly clear that the Religious Right does not represent the will of most Australian Christians.
‘We look forward to these more mainstream, inclusive and compassionate views engaging in this issue as we work towards achieving marriage equality. Civil marriage is a secular issue and more than 70 per cent of Australians choose marriages that are not religious in nature and are not conducted by priests.’
‘In this context, we call on the [Australian] government to recognize that civil marriage equality is supported by the majority of Australians including many people of faith who recognize the separation between church and state in federal relationship laws.’