Archbishop calls for opt out if Australia opts in to gay marriage

Archbishop Philip Freier has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott urging that any changes to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage must permit clergy to follow their conscience and opt out.

The Primate of Australia, Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier, has written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten urging that any changes to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage must permit clergy to follow their conscience and opt out.  “It is important to point out that the Anglican Church of Australia abhors homophobia in any form,” Dr Freier wrote to the prime minister last week, but noted that for many clergy support for traditional marriage was a matter of principle over which they could not compromise. Last week Mr. Shorten announced his party would introduce bill to the Federal parliament permitting same-sex marriage. Dr. Freier stated: “Should changes to the Marriage Act be legislated, I urge on behalf of the Anglican Church that there be provision made for decisions of conscience. Ministers of religion recognised by a church or other religious body must have the right to refuse to solemnise a marriage if in doing so that would contravene his or her religious beliefs or the religious beliefs of the church or other religious body,” Dr Freier wrote.

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