15 November 2017
Pastoral letter in response to the Yes vote on legalising Same Sex Marriage
While we respect the result of the postal poll in which, of those Australians who voted, 61.6% have voted to support provision for same sex marriage, we are very disappointed in this. We believe that provision for same sex marriage is not in the best interests of Australian society, and especially so in the case of children.
The Presbyterian Church of Australia continues to hold to the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman as we believe it best reflects the Lord’s creational design for human flourishing. We reserve our right to hold and express that view.
At a denominational level, we will closely watch the subsequent political and legal processes and will make representations within them. We pray that secure provision is made for freedom of expression and freedom of action for those Australians who have conscientious objections to recognition of same sex marriage.
Should the Marriage Act be changed to permit same sex marriage, we will consider any further institutional response through our state and general assemblies in due time.
We are aware that within our own congregations and the broader community people voted in different ways and for different reasons. We urge sensitivity towards people with different opinions, and that we offer them a listening ear, a tempered tongue and an ability to explain our opposition to same sex marriage in a way that combines love and truth and which points to Jesus Christ.
The same sex marriage issue highlights a need for clear thinking about how we as Christian believers relate to wider Australian society in an increasingly post-Christian age. This is an important task at all levels of the church and we commit ourselves to it as a denomination.
Finally, although disappointed, we bow before God’s providence in this matter.
Please God, keep us from the folly in which we bring your just judgment on ourselves by trying to live in your world our way. Save us from ourselves we pray.
John Wilson, Moderator General, Presbyterian Church of Australia.
David Burke, Moderator, Presbyterian Church in NSW
Bill MacRae, Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Western Australia
Dan Shepheard, Moderator Presbyterian Church of Tasmania
Greg Watt, Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Queensland
Robert White, Presbyterian Church of Victoria