Church leaders in Macarthur say they won’t marry same-sex couples

Same-sex couples in Macarthur will be unable to marry in the region’s churches if marriage equality legislation is passed.

Not a single church leader contacted by the Advertiser today said they were willing to officiate marriage ceremonies for gay couples.

In a landmark announcement this morning, it was revealed that 61 per cent of Australians had voted yes in the recent postal survey on same-sex marriage.

Legislation to amend the marriage act will be introduced to Parliament within weeks but it appears gay couples still face many challenges should they want to be married in a church.

Father Peter Caruana from Ingleburn’s Holy Family Catholic Church said same-sex couples would not be married in the church.

“Part of the [proposed] legislation is that churches will not be forced to marry same-sex couples,” he said.

“This is generally not allowed in Christian denominations and many other religions.”

Father Michael Williams from St Paul’s Catholic Church in Camden said he was disappointed by unsurprised by today’s ‘yes’ vote majority.

“It wasn’t unexpected,” he said.

He said church rules forbade same-sex unions.

“We can’t marry same-sex couples as it is against church laws,” he said.

“Even though common law may change, we can only marry men and women, not same-sex couples.” 

Picton and Wilton Anglican churches' senior minister Ben Boardman also said same-sex couples would not be married in his churches.

“The postal survey was a democratic count and now same-sex marriage needs to be legalised because it is important to recognise the people's vote," Rev Boardman said.

"I will continue to teach a traditional definition of marriage with scriptures. That means I won't marry same sex couples and I will not endorse other forms of marriage.

"The church will continue to have a pro-traditional marriage stance.

"Now it is important to ensure the way the marriage law is formed ends discrimination for the LGBTIQ community."

St John’s Anglican Church senior minister Tony Galea said he had hoped for a different result in the postal survey.

“I am personally disappointed with the result,” he said.

“But I respect Australia’s decision, democracy has spoken with regards to gay marriage.”

However, Rev Galea said the result would not change the way the Camden church viewed marriage.

“God’s will is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.

“I want to uphold God’s will.

“So if a same-sex couple came to me wanting to be married in the church, I would unfortunately have to decline.”

Campbelltown Uniting Church minister Andy Carlisle was not as strong in his stance as the region’s other church leaders.

“It’s up to individual denominations to decide on whether they allow their churches to marry same-sex couples,” he said.

“We will be in discussion next year, but it is unlikely that we will have a decision any time soon.

“In Britain, I believe, there is only one denomination which has allowed same-sex couples to marry and it has been legal there for the past two years.”