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In Australia, gay marriage debate goes local after federal bill fails

September 21, 2012

SYDNEY

Australians are expected to debate marriage equality at the state level after the federal parliament defeated legislation on Sept. 19 that would have allowed gay couples to marry.

Although marriage equality is Labor policy, Prime Minister Julia Gillard permitted Labor’s MPs a free vote. But the Liberal/National coalition, who opposed the bill, did not. All but six of Australia’s 150 parliamentarians are from Labor and the coalition.

As 65 percent of MPs ― including Gillard and most of the Labor party ― voted against the bill, it was defeated.

However, since three of five Australian state parliaments have given in-principle legislative support for gay marriage, the issue is expected to be decided at a local level.

Last month Tasmania’s lower house passed gay marriage legislation, but it must pass the Legislative Council to become law. In New South Wales (NSW), the location of Australia’s largest city, Sydney, each party leader will allow free votes on marriage equality later this year, and the legislation is expected to pass.

“We could have same-sex couples being married in Sydney before Christmas,” the Rev. Ross Clifford, President of the NSW Council of Churches said after the federal bill’s defeat.

The council opposes marriage equality, considering marriage to be a lifelong and faithful union between one man and one woman. Clifford said most Australians did not want a radical redefinition of marriage to suit a small minority with loud voices.

However, Labor Catholic MP Graham Perrett, who has two gay brothers, has said he strongly supports marriage equality, while appreciating the religious significance of marriage.

Sid Sidebottom, a Labor MP who trained as a Catholic priest and taught religious studies prior to entering politics, has said he also respects religious views but acknowledged discrimination.

“The individual human rights of a person should not be discriminated against on the basis of their religious belief, their gender, their ethnicity or their sexual preference,” Sidebottom told Parliament during the debate.

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), a vocal opponent of the legislation, welcomed the bill’s defeat.

“I would like to thank the opposition for keeping its election promise and for all those members of Labor who, as a matter of conscience, voted to ensure that marriage remained between a man and a woman,” Managing Director Jim Wallace said in statement.

Earlier this month Gillard cancelled a scheduled address to the ACL after Wallace suggested being gay was a bigger health hazard than smoking.

At a diocesan level, the Rev. Chris Bedding, at 23, the youngest Australian to be ordained as a priest, hopes to bless all couples equally and will present a motion to the Perth Anglican diocese’s annual synod next month, affirming legal recognition of same sex relationships.

Bedding expects support, and if passed, Perth would be the first Australian diocese to affirm same sex relationships.

  1. The word “gospel” means “good news”. The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best good news ever for mankind, and it is for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. This is the only real Gospel, and for it to be real and effective in a person’s life, there must be repentance from sins (1 John 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:19). The doctrinal error of gay theology is that it presents “a different gospel”, the gay gospel. This gospel holds that one can be a Christian, never turn away from homosexual behavior, and still enjoy eternity in heaven with Jesus. Now any gospel that is not faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible is the gospel of “a different Jesus”. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about a “different gospel” and a “different Jesus”: “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). This is how we can know that Satan is using gay theology to get Christians who are homosexual to continue to practice homosexuality, feel good about it, and end up in hell, rather than repent of it. There is only one Gospel of Jesus Christ! So if you are a homosexual Christian who is trusting in gay theology or the gay gospel to get you to heaven, you may want to re-think that. I certainly hope you will. Remember the words of Jesus: ”What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). See more at http://rethinkingtheology.com/2012/07/29/truth-and-hope-for-gays-and-lesbians/

    by James Aist

    September 22, 2012

  2. Surely Jesus would befriend homosexual people (cf. Matthew 9:10; Luke 7:34) and treat them with kindness and respect, without approving of their homosexual behavior; Jesus came preaching repentance from sin, not acceptance of sin (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32), and He was still calling for repentance after his ascension into heaven (Revelation 2, 3). Jesus did not come to save us in our sins, but to save us from our sins. Jesus said to the woman caught in the heterosexual sin called ”adultery”, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11). Jesus gave up His own life to pay the price for homosexual sins; that’s how much He hates homosexual sins and loves homosexual people (Romans 5:8). Jesus would further demonstrate His love for homosexual people by encouraging them to believe in Him and be saved (John 3:16), and to repent of (turn away from) their homosexual sins. Furthermore, He would change them “in the name (literally, the power and authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ”, just as His Corinthian disciples (His representatives) did after Him (I Corinthians 6:11). This is the kind of love Jesus has for homosexual and heterosexual people alike. The Bible also has this to say about love: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9); and “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6). This, too, is the love of Christ for all of us, including homosexual people. See more at http://rethinkingtheology.com/2012/07/29/truth-and-hope-for-gays-and-lesbians/

    by James Aist

    September 21, 2012

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