Over days of difficult and prayerful discussion, the 14th Triennial Assembly has committed to continue to engage in a culturally-appropriate conversation about marriage and same-gender relationships.
In addition to this conversation, the Assembly resolved to issue a pastoral letter to the church affirming the Uniting Church as an inclusive church embracing those members who identify as LGBTIQ. If a change to the Marriage Act is made between now and the next Assembly in 2018, the General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia, will issue a letter to all Uniting Church authorised celebrants advising them of their freedoms and constraints under that legislation and in their church-authorised role.
“It’s important that if there is any change to the Marriage Act, that all of our authorised celebrants are on the same page as to what that means,” said Rev Alistair Macrae, convenor of the National Working Group on Doctrine.
It was requested that the General Secretary’s letter would be translated into several languages so as to be clear and accessible to all culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Another proposal outlining procedures for respectful conversation with the multicultural bodies of the church was referred to the Assembly Standing Committee. A proposal to reaffirm the Uniting Church’s existing stance on marriage and reject any public celebration of a samegender union lapsed.
Rev Lu Senituli spoke to the proposal saying, “Proposal 61 comes out of the work we have undertaken over the past three years.”
“Our current policy is that marriage is between a man and a woman and forms the basis of the marriage rite.
“If ever the Uniting Church was to redefine marriage to include same-gender partnerships, it would be impossible to bypass the deep theological tradition of male-female duality.
“What Proposal 61 is saying is that we be very clear about our current reality that in light of our current theology, we cannot accept the blessing of samegender relationships.”
After a period of discussion, the Assembly opted not to put it to a decision and the proposal lapsed.