Priests and senior members of the Anglican Church based in the North East and Border region have thrown their support behind finding a way to give official blessings to same-sex marriages.
The historic decision was reached at the weekend’s Wangaratta Anglican Church synod, which also includes members from Albury, Wodonga and Corryong.
The official position of the Anglican Church is that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
But the Wangaratta synod’s vote gave backing to Bishop John Parkes to attempt to navigate the complex rules and find a way to bless same-sex marriages, without breaching the church’s constitution.
“If there is space within those for me to move in this way, that’s my intention … I have to ensure that what I’m doing is appropriate in terms of the bible,” Bishop Parkes told The Border Mail.
“We bless crops, we bless buildings – should we not be able to bless two people who love each other?”
He conceded politics within the Anglican Church means he is unlikely to see same-sex marriages performed in the church in his lifetime, but pointed to the 63 per cent of Indi’s respondents who voted “yes” in the postal survey.
“Clearly society has changed hugely,” he said.
“I know that it’s controversial and I know that there are some who will passionately disagree with me.”
The motion was moved and spoken to by senior church members, with just one person voting against.
Legal and theological advisors will help find a way to bless marriages, which the church hopes will make people feel more welcome.
Bishop Parkes first spoke publicly in support of same-sex marriage back in 2015 and has since issued an apology to the LGBTI community on behalf of the church “for the ways in which they have been demeaned or undermined or rejected”.
He has been supported by Archdeacon of St Matthews Church in Albury, Peter MacLeod-Miller, who also spoke at the weekend’s synod.
“Anglican churches, with many others, are currently equality-free zones ... but the Anglicans in the diocese of Wangaratta are heading in the other direction,” Father MacLeod-Miller said.
“For a number of years St Matthews Albury has said that we hope to conduct same-sex weddings and this synod vote brings that day closer.”
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