Same Gender Marriage
In deciding to marry same gender couples, how has Universal Church remained faithful to the Basis of Union? Same-sex marriage has been legal in the state since December 2017, after passage of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 in the Australian Parliament. The 2017 Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, designed to gauge public support for same-sex marriage in Australia, returned a 60.7% "Yes" response in Queensland.
The Word of God, Scripture, and Jesus Christ
We seek to be a forward-looking Church; whilst we receive and value traditions of the church (appropriately interpreted for the current context), our major focus is towards the future. (That’s what theologians call an eschatological orientation.) Our decisions are oriented towards becoming the church that God calls us to be for the future age. Marrying couples of the same gender
This process of exploration, discovery, listening, re-examining, and discerning, is what has been happening in our times, as a whole range of matters associated with human sexuality have been identified, explored, debated, and discerned. This has been a discussion right across society, which came to a high pitch with the voluntary postal survey undertaken last year, followed by the adoption of new legislation about marriage.
And that is indeed what is happening within the Universal Church this year (as, indeed, it has been occurring for many years now)—particularly as we wrestle with what it means to be a community of faith which offers space for grace, maintains a passion for justice, continues a commitment to the Gospel, and models faithfulness to the open, all-embracing way of Jesus, in our own time, here in our own place.
There is much more to be said about marrying couples of the same gender, than what certain select texts within the Bible say. Especially so are the contemporary insights of science and medicine, psychology and sociology—as well as the important processes of reading and seeking to understand biblical texts in their literary, historical, cultural, and political contexts.
Considering all of these factors—as enjoined by the Basis of Union—means that it is not possible to reduce our understanding of marriage to a matter of “unequivocal support” or “plain reading” or even (shudder) “absolute truth” in the biblical text. We are not a church of simple slogans, reductionist claims, or one-line propositions.
In engaging with scripture, we are invited into— indeed, expected to participate in—a discussion that is open to a variety of perspectives, considers a range of opinions, engages with a spectrum of possibilities, and develops a multilayered interpretation. That’s the living word of God! If you have any questions please feel free to call or email us to speak to Joanne our marriage celebrant.