NEWS | John Sandeman
The Uniting Church in Australia’s (UCA) peak body, the National Assembly, has voted to continue discussion about marriage and same sex relationships. This vote mean that the Church has not approved same-sex marriage, and their next National Assembly is not until 2018.
Alongside this conversation the Assembly resolved to affirm the UCA “as an inclusive church embracing those members who identify as LGBTIQ”.
Eternity understands that UCA Ministers still need to marry under existing UCA rules. In 1997 the UCA Assembly stated “Marriage for Christians is the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of a man and a woman to live together for life.” A report for this year’s assembly concluded that members of the UCA had no agreed theology of marriage, with Indigenous and Ethnic groups (significant in the UCA) opposed to same-sex marriage
The National Assembly was clearly aware that the law about marriage might change before their next meeting. It asked their new UCA General Secretary Colleen Geyer “in the event that the Commonwealth Marriage Act is changed, to write to all Uniting Church marriage celebrants, advising them of their freedoms and constraints under that legislation and as celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church”.
A proposal (motion) to re-endorse the church’s support for indigenous marriage and to reject any public celebration of a same sex union was rejected by the Assembly. Lu Senituli, a Pacific Islander minister from North Queensland (and a member of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations, a conservative group within the UCA) said “it would be impossible to bypass the deep theological tradition of male-female duality.” Another member of Assembly, who opposed this motion, described it as “hateful”.