Church cancels straight couple's wedding over SSM support
A PRIEST has refused to marry a couple because the bride-to-be posted her support for same-sex marriage on Facebook.
The couple were all set for a November wedding at a Presbyterian church in Victoria when the minister, Steven North, pulled out of the service.
Mr North made the decision just days after the 26-year-old wrote on social media that she supported a change in the law, reported Fairfax Media who have chosen not to name the couple.
"I know it's something not everyone will agree on and that's fine but this is what I stand for and frankly it doesn't effect [sic] my relationship with [my partner] one bit," she commented in early August.
The bride and her 25-year-old fiancee were asked to come into Ebenezer St John's church in Ballarat by the minister.
In a letter to the bride, Mr North said he would no longer officiate their ceremony.
"After the premarital counselling that you attended and the sermons delivered at Ebenezer on this subject, you must surely appreciate that your commitment to same-sex marriage opposes the teaching of Christ Jesus and the scriptural position practised by the Presbyterian Church of Australia and by me," he wrote.
"By continuing to officiate it would appear either that I support your views on same-sex marriage or that I am uncaring about this matter. As you know, neither statement is correct."
He said the use of the church for the service, but with another minister, could equally suggest he was lending support to same-sex marriage.
The Presbyterian church is publicly opposed to same-sex marriage. However, other ministers have said couples are routinely wed by Presbyterian ministers without discussions about their closely held personal beliefs.
The church is increasingly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage. While the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney and the Anglican diocese of Sydney are firmly in the no campaign, individual bishops have taken a softer tone.
The Catholic bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long Van Nguyen, has said Catholics should vote according to their conscience.
Elsewhere, anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty has thrown her support behind 'yes'.
The former Australian of the Year took to Twitter on Friday morning to say "lets have the same rules for everyone".
I will #voteYes for #MarriageEquality without hesitation. Let's have the same rules for everyone.
- Rosie Batty (@RosieBatty1) September 14, 2017
One of the main proponents of the 'no' campaign has said parents should be able to subject their children to controversial "gay cure" therapies.
Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby told BuzzFeed while adults should have the choice to undertake conversion therapy, minors should have to follow their parents' wishes on the treatment which is opposed by the Australian Psychological Association and the Australian Medical Association.
Critics of the practice say it is driven by religious beliefs rather than the wellbeing of the person, there is no evidence it works and the methods employed can cause psychological damage.
"Should people be forced to go to conversion therapy? No, absolutely not," Mr Shelton said.
"Now, children - they are under the care and responsibility of their parents, so I think if someone's a minor, it is up to their parents. And I think parental rights should be respected."
He said the term "conversion therapy" was loaded and instead said anyone should be "able to access any counselling for issues of unwanted sexual attraction".