Church blessing of gay marriage postponed in Wangaratta

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The Border Mail is reporting tonight (to be published tomorrow morning) that the liturgy for blessing the parties to a same-sex marriage will not be used this Saturday. The delay is in response to the Primate’s request not to carry out the service until the Appellate Tribunal has considered the matter.

Bishop Parkes said he was not surprised, but insisted it was just “a delay, rather than an abandonment”.

“We will give the appellate tribunal a chance to meet and consider and we will be actively involved in presenting our views before the tribunal,” he said.

“I can’t for the life of me believe that we won’t be able to bless people, but if not, some of us will have to consider our position very carefully.”

While other bishops have previously ignored requests from Primate Freier to not take certain actions before an appellate tribunal hearing, Bishop Parkes said “the proper thing is not to” and it would be “rude”.

Nevertheless, there will be a service held this coming Saturday following on from the marriage of John Davis and Robert Whalley which happened today in Melbourne.

Parkes decision to resile from conducting the full blessing avoids immediate action against him and now shifts attention squarely onto a number of upcoming events; the bishops’ meeting later this year, next year’s “special session” of General Synod and the eventual verdict of the Appellate Tribunal.