Same-sex marriage debate hears from Kempsey churches

Local Kempsey churches have weighed in on the same-sex marriage debate as the cut-off date for voting nears.

The Australian marriage law postal survey is currently underway and will measure how many Australians agree or disagree that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry. The current law (Marriage Act) does not legalise same-sex marriage in Australia.

Speaking to the Argus, members of the Kempsey Aboriginal Community Church said they will be voting ‘no’.

“The leglisation of same-sex marriage would violate the core teachings of the Bible. The LGBT community simply disobeys God’s instructions: Adam for Eve = children.”

That is the view of Pastor Robert Shanney and church secretary James ‘Gurri’ Dungay.

Both voiced frustration at members of parliament who are lobbying for a ‘yes’ vote.

The cut-off for Australians to submit their survey responses is around the 7 November.

The cut-off for Australians to submit their survey responses is around the 7 November.

“When a politician enters parliament they must take an oath on God’s blessed book, the Bible, and therefore I hope they will read and obey God’s instructions regarding his divine plan for marriage, for man and woman,” Mr Dungay said.

Members of the Kempsey Presbyterian Church and Church at The Rocks recently held group discussions on same-sex marriage.

Posted as a blog on the church website, members of each church put forward their views and discussed specific Bible passages that comment on same-sex relationships.

“(The Bible) clearly shows that there is a certain design for creation – including sexuality. (God) gives the woman to the man, and this is so that they can fulfill His creation mandate to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28),” one member of the church discussion said.

Some members of the Christian community have voiced different interpretations of the Bible's messages on same-sex relationships.

Some members of the Christian community have voiced different interpretations of the Bible's messages on same-sex relationships.

Commenting on the rights of same-sex couples, one group member said, “It has been said that the LGBT community suffers from being excluded from several rights that being married enjoys. But let’s be clear, this debate is not about rights.

“Any lack of rights (of which I do not know of any due to anti-discrimination laws and current laws regarding de-facto couples as basically married) could be addressed by introducing a legal arrangement called a ‘civil union’. They don’t want a civil union because it doesn’t fit with their desire of equal societal-recognition,” the church member said.

“It is well-documented that a happily married, heterosexual union by far is the most stable unit on which to build a family than any other arrangement.”

However, some members of the Christian religion, which has many different denominations, have been active in lobbying for marriage equality.

Speaking to the Argus, Reverend Bronwyn Marchant of the Kempsey Anglican Church said that not all Christians should be lumped together on the topic of same-sex marriage.

“While I don’t speak for all Anglicans,there are different approaches to the Bible. You need to consider the cultural background of when the Bible was written - it was people writing about how they perceived God but they were always influenced by their society.”

All Saints’ Anglican Church, Kempsey. Parish priest, Reverend Marchant, said not all Christians should be lumped together on the topic of same-sex marriage. Photo: Kempsey Anglican Church.

All Saints’ Anglican Church, Kempsey. Parish priest, Reverend Marchant, said not all Christians should be lumped together on the topic of same-sex marriage. Photo: Kempsey Anglican Church.

Reverend Marchant believes there was not a thorough understanding of equal same-sex relationships at the time the Bible was written.

“Back then there were a lot of situations where older men had boy slaves - so there’s some understandings of the Bible that those are the situations being referenced when homosexuality is discussed in the Bible.”

“I don’t see the legalisation of same-sex marriage as having any effect on anyone else's marriage - for me it's about a right - heterosexual people have the right to be married or not to be married. Not all gay want to be married but it's about having the same rights - so really it comes down to justice and equality,” the Reverend said.

“It is very painful for gay people to have their very beings - who they are - discussed by everybody and judged by everybody. It’s very hard for one sector of society to be told they are wrong when they are just being who they are.”