The Uniting Church looks to be the first Christian denomination set to allow same-sex marriages | Photo: Instagram/Casamentoalacarte
Australia’s Uniting Church is about to become the first Christian denomination in that country to allow same-sex marriages.
The church’s Working Group on Doctrine (WGD) prepared an internal report on the issue. The report recommended changing the policy to say marriage is between ‘two people’ rather than the current ‘a man and a woman’.
The Assembly Standing Committee then endorsed the report, paving the way for the church to begin holding same-sex marriages.
In December last year, Australia legalized marriage equality after a gruelling national postal vote on the issue. The marriage legislation does not force religious institutions to marry same-sex couples if it goes against their beliefs or conscious.
The WGD report also recommend the same apply to individual Ministers and Uniting Church authorised celebrants. They could choose whether they wanted to marry same-sex couples or not.
The Uniting Church has looked into this for three years
The results of the report came after three years of research and consultation.
Some of the reasons given for recommending the Uniting Church update its policy include; ‘scientific research generally supports the view that people who are attracted to someone of the same gender were born that way’.
‘This knowledge supports the view that same-gender sexual attraction can be understood as part of God’s good and diverse creation rather than unnatural,’ the report reads.
The report recommends referring to ‘same-gender’ marriage rather than ‘same-sex’ because then it is easier to translate into other languages.
‘It is common knowledge that discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation has very damaging impacts on their health and wellbeing,’ the report reads.
‘If the church is committed to learning from Jesus about challenging the injustice of excluding people then it will seriously consider extending marriage to couples of the same gender.’
Before the recommendations become policy, the 265 members of the Uniting Church’s Assembly must vote on it. They are due to meet in July.