The Uniting Church in Australia’s Assembly voted Saturday to change the denomination’s definition of marriage and allow ministers to officiate weddings for same-sex couples.
In a statement posted on the Church’s website, Uniting Church in Australia President Deidre Palmer announced the changes that were made by the 265-member assembly that gathered in Melbourne, saying: “To honor the diversity of Christian belief among our members, we will hold two equal and distinct statements of belief on marriage.”
The first statement of belief regarding marriage is one that the Uniting Church has been following for a long time.
“The existing statement of belief that ‘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’ has been retained,” Palmer said before added that “a new additional statement of belief has also been adopted.”
“That statement reads ‘marriage for Christians is the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of two people to live together for life,’ Palmer said.
Uniting Church in Australia is the third-largest Christian denomination in the country.
According to the pastoral letter written by Palmer, the issue of same-sex marriage has been talked about by the church for over 30 years and it “has been a difficult one, as it has been for many people of faith.”
The Uniting Church now following two statements of belief regarding marriage means that it will be up to ministers to decide how they want to proceed.
Palmer assured members of the Uniting Church that their beliefs regarding marriage will continue to be “respected and protected.” And ministers who decide to adhere to the biblical definition of marriage won’t be forced to officiate same-sex marriage ceremonies.
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Source: Christian Post