Proposals on marriage were presented to the Assembly in July. After much debate, discussion and prayer, the Assembly agreed to both the traditional understanding of marriage (wording unchanged) and same gender marriage. Here’s part of the official statement from the President, Dr Deidre Palmer.
The 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia has agreed to hold two equal and distinct views on marriage to honour the diversity of Christian belief among its members.
Meeting for the first time since last year’s change to Australian marriage laws, members of the Church’s national decision-making body, the Assembly, resolved to allow its ministers the freedom to conduct or refuse to conduct same-gender marriages.
“This decision follows many years of reflection, prayer and discernment, and I want to thank Assembly members for the way they have responded with grace to what is a difficult conversation for many people of faith,” said Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer.
Dr Palmer acknowledged the ministry and struggle of LGBTIQ people in the Uniting Church over many years.
“I know that this conversation is painful and difficult for you,” said Dr Palmer, directly addressing LGBTIQ Church members.
“We also acknowledge those who for whatever reason have not been able to support this change – and your pain and difficulty in this space.”
“Please rest assured that your rights to follow your beliefs on marriage will be respected and protected.”
Pastoral letter from SA Moderator, Rev Sue Ellis