ORANGE mayor John Davis says while he has no plans to become a gay advocate he wouldn’t oppose the legalisation of same-sex marriages.
“I have my own private views ... I wouldn’t vote against it but I wouldn’t be a leader for that lifestyle,” he said.
“I respect individuals’ rights to choose the lifestyle they want.”
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Father Carl Mackander, the parish priest at St Mary’s and St Joseph’s churches, said the official church line is that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.
“This is how it is in the New Testament, the Old Testament and 2000 years of church tradition,” he said.
Father Mackander said despite the church’s views that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman, he believed there should be greater civil recognition of the partnership between same sex couples.
“When it comes to issues of the ownership of property I think the government has been very slow to move on that area,” he said.
Reverend Canon Frank Hetherington of Holy Trinity Anglican Church said this was an issue that could divide the Anglican and Uniting churches.
“I think this could be one of the big divisive issues facing the church,” he said.
“There are some within the church who would demonise it, and others that would celebrate it.”
Reverend Hetherington said the subject of same-sex marriage raised questions the community and churches needed to address, such as, if marriage is to be procreative, how can you call same-sex relationships marriage?
He said community and church groups needed to come up with a definition of marriage.
Member for Calare John Cobb said he believed marriage should only be between a man and a woman and defended the Coalition’s record on same-sex issues.
He said he did not believe there was a need for a conscience vote on the floor of Federal Parliament and he didn’t feel the need to ask his constituancy for their opinion.
“I actually believe the Coalition is very user-friendy when it comes to same-sex couples who want to have a relationship, but marriage came into being for a relationship between a man and a woman,” he said.
“If people choose to form relationships in other ways that’s up to them and what we did in government was make sure those relationships had the same financial and legal protection as other relationships, and we were right to support that.” Mr Cobb rejected polls that suggest most Australians support same-sex marriage.
“I don’t think those polls are true. I don’t think the majority support gay marriage,” he said.
“I do believe the overwhelming view of society is that we should not discriminate against those who are different to the general run but I don’t see this as discrimination . Marriage does not include same-sex couples.
“We can play with words as much as you like but the fact is marriage was always a formal celebration of the union of two people who want to start a family.”