Australian Associated Press reports Anglicans ‘can accept gay marriage vote’
Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier has written to the country’s Anglican bishops insisting the church can preserve its view on “holy matrimony” while accepting the will of the people.
“Should the vote be in favour of same-sex marriage, as suggested by opinion polls, the church must accept that this is now part of the landscape,” the Australian primate states.
Dr Freier’s letter notes that the doctrine of the Book of Common Prayer – that marriage is between a man and a woman “under God” – would remain unchanged.
“I do not believe the Anglican Church in Australia is likely to revise its doctrine of marriage,” he writes.
“But … the church also understands the desire of two people to express their commitment of love and self-sacrifice and Christians have not always shown the respect or perspective they should.”
The head of the Anglican church in Australia has said it “must accept” a change in the civil definition of marriage if the plebiscite approves marriage equality, but it is unlikely the church’s doctrine will change.
In a letter to the nation’s Anglican bishops, the Melbourne archbishop Philip Freier also threw his weight behind a plebiscite, saying the government had a mandate for the policy and it would make the social reform easier to accept.
On Friday, Freier wrote that he personally “welcomes the plebiscite, though with strong reservations that we must guard the tenor of the debate, and keep it positive”.
The full text of the letter written by Archbishop Philip Freier of Melbourne to his fellow Australian bishops is published here: Conscience rules on marriage.