Aussie Christians respond to same-sex marriage

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Two bride figurines adorn the top of a wedding cake during an illegal same-sex wedding ceremony in central Melbourne August 1, 2009.
Two bride figurines adorn the top of a wedding cake during an illegal same-sex wedding ceremony in central Melbourne August 1, 2009. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

A new poll reveals that several Aussie Christians want same-sex marriage to push through. Many do not want marriage equality reforms to include extra discrimination clauses.

The Galaxy Research poll, commissioned by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, had asked 1,000 people on the issue.  More than half or 54 percent of Australian Christian respondents say they support marriage equality in Australia.

It found that 49 percent opposed civil celebrants being able to refuse services to same sex couples on the basis of “conscientious belief." Fifty-six percent of Christian millenials have opposed the right to refuse services, while some 31 percent are in favour of the proposed move.

Furthermore, the poll shows 61 percent of Christians are not pleased about conservative religious groups that represent the opinions of all Christians. These include 55 percent of regular churchgoers, with 17 percent who said they were unhappy.

National spokesperson Shelley Argent said the survey is proof of solid support among Christians for the changes to same-sex nuptial. “With Australian Christians so conclusively behind marriage equality, it’s time for politicians to have a free vote and get this done,” news.com.au quotes her as saying.

The Very Reverend Peter Catt, spokesperson for Progressive Christian Voice, said the survey is proof that Australian Christians believe everyone deserves fair and equal treatment without discrimination. He said he was pleased to see that Christians are holding firm to “Christ’s injunction to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.”

For marriage equality advocate Rodney Croome, the survey was a broad view of Christian values. “We wanted to ensure we polled a representative sample of Christians including but not limited to those who go to church regularly,” he told News Corp.

He added he was not surprised that how frequently people attend church links with opposition to marriage equality. Rather, Croome was surprised that frequency of church attendance appears to make little difference to how people react on the issue of wedding service providers being allowed to refuse services to same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage in Australia looks increasingly likely to be legalised via votes in Parliament. A bill may be introduced into the House of Representatives week when Parliament returns.

Assuming at least five and possibly more Liberal backbenchers follow through with their enthusiasm to force the issue, a bill would pass the House and the Senate. A bill might then edge through with Labor and the Greens’ support.

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