Back in JUL 2016, Malcolm Turnbull was campaigning for the highest office in Australia. He is now the prime minister of Australia. During his campaign, he made promises, as all politicians do when running for office. One of his promises was a referendum on marriage equality in Australia. Now as the leader of the coalition government, it appears that a referendum will eventually be placed before the people of Australia. Currently, details as to the plebiscite are lacking.
However, the Anglican Primate of Australia has weighed into the preliminary discussion. The Most Revd Philip Freier is the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. The Archbishop feels that this is a promise that the Prime Minister will keep. And he welcomes the conversation that would precede going to the polls on the issue. But he is hoping that it will be a civil conversation. Polls show a majority of the Australian public approving of same-sex marriage. The Archbishop feels that if same-sex marriage were to become legal in Australia that those opposed to same-sex marriage would better accept their loss if it came from a referendum.
Personally, I welcome the plebiscite, though with strong reservations that we must guard the tenor of the debate, and keep it positive. The Government promised a plebiscite in campaigning for the July election and, having been elected, they have the reasonable expectation of honouring this commitment. Further, those who oppose same-sex marriage will surely find it easier to accept it becoming approved in law if they have been given a vote.
– Archbishop Freier
The Archbishop also feels that if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land that the Church needs to accept it as an aspect of society. At the same time, he does not see the Anglican Church of Australia wavering from the definition of marriage, enshrined in the Book of Common Prayer, as being only between a man and a woman. He does not see Australian Anglicans changing the marriage canon to accept same-sex marriage.
The doctrine of the Book of Common Prayer remains unchanged, that marriage is between a man and a woman, under God, forsaking all others until death parts them. I do not believe that the Anglican Church in Australia is likely to revise its doctrine of marriage.
– Archbishop Freier
The current promise of a referendum on marriage equality is the latest attempt to bring same-sex marriage to Australia. Almost three years ago the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) legalized same-sex marriage. This was challenged by the Australian federal government and the High Court of Australia found against the Capital Territory and overturned the legislation.
Facts for this story were gathered from the Anglican Communion News Service.