Anglican Bishops break ranks and supports Dean Smith’s marriage bill

Religious leaders are calling on the government to insert amendments for religious freedom into Senator Dean Smith’s marriage bill before it becomes law.

A group of Anglican Bishops however have broken ranks and declared their support for the bill in its current format.

The Bishop of Wangaratta, John Parkes is leading a group of seven Bishops from the Anglican Church who have written to lower house MPs arguing that the marriage bill has sufficient protections for religious organisations and no additional amendments are necessary.

“It preserves the fabric of our anti-discrimination laws, which have been developed over half a century,” they say. “These give expression to democratic values of equality and fairness. It also accords fulsome recognition of the religious rights and freedoms that underpin a democratic, plural and multicultural society.” Bishop Parkes told Brisbane Times

While the Bishops have voiced their support for the bill many higher up in the church hierarchy are ardently opposed to changing the laws. During the campaign it was revealed the Diocese of Sydney had donated one million dollars to the Coalition for Marriage, with Archbishop Glenn Davies speaking out against LGBTI couples.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he is in favour of some of the amendments that are expected to be put forward.

Describing them as “belts and braces” for the bill the Prime Minister told Sky News on Sunday that he believed that all civil celebrants should have the right to turn same-sex couples away, and protections needed to be added for religious based charities.

Debate on the bill will commence in the House of Representatives on Monday morning.

OIP Staff

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