ST James Presbyterian Church minister Robert McKean says while same-sex marriange advocates have a high public profile, it is important traditionalists be given a fair hearing.
Reverend McKean believes in freedom of speech and thinks supporters of same-sex marriage have expressed their opinions “loud and clear.”
“[However] I think some people who support traditional marriage are not wanting to speak our for fear of being accused of bigotry,” he said.
Reverend McKean is happy to defend traditional marriage by asking parishioners to sign the Canberra Declaration, which will be presented to members of Parliament.
The Canberra Declaration, drafted by Christian leaders from several denominations, was released in 2010. It has been circulated throughout Australia via channels including churches.
Reverend McKean said once he had collected enough signatures he would return the document to its co-ordinators, who would forward it to members of Parliament.
He said about 70 churchgoers had already signed the document and he expected to collect more signatures in the coming weeks.
“The declaration has been prepared by an organisation that is promoting Christian values in Australia,” he said.
“It covers a range of issues including marriage, the protection of life and religious freedom.”
Reverend McKean said because same-sex marriage was topical, his church elders decided it was the right time to circulate the document.
“I think we need to show our support for the traditional view of marriage and make our opinions known,” he said.
“The politicians who are dealing with this issue need to know there is support out there for the traditional view of marriage.”
Reverend McKean conceded the church’s open stance against same-sex marriage may make some gay people uncomfortable.
“Anyone is welcome to attend church and I would be happy to talk with them and try and understand their situation, and talk about what the Bible says,” he said.
Reverend McKean said he had seen the number of parishioners double to around 150 in the past eight years.
“I think people want something certain and clear and we make it quite clear where we stand on the Bible and God’s word,” he said.