It was a simple question.
I gave a simple answer – “The same as anybody else,” I replied.
There was a question behind the question, however. As the topic of same-sex marriage rises to be the star turn at this weekend’s Australian Labor Party conference, anxious attention from both the anti and pro camps tests the waters for support. I have continued to maintain a mugwump’s perspective, described a few months ago here. I might elaborate further, however, and say that anybody within the sphere of our congregation’s influence who experiences discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation is entitled to our advocacy. No mugwumpery in that regard.
The unasked question, though, is “What will you do when a gay couple asks you to officiate over their union ceremony (whatever nomenclature is granted or not)?”
I will do as I have often done with those who have shared the uniqueness of their journeys through a variety of circumstances that cover the range of life’s disappointments, hopes, fears, and possibilities. Listen carefully (with the ears of the crucified and risen One) and respond accordingly. As with hetero couples, the result may be “Wait.” It may equally be, “Let us design a rite that honours before God where you find yourself to be.” I have no idea where that might lead. I do know that our congregation is mature enough and confident enough to hold such couples and individuals in their journey with respect, love and compassion -and, as with anyone, make room for them to become full participating members of the church community.
How do I know? I’ve see it happen before.
- PM under pressure over gay marriage push (news.smh.com.au)
- ALP delegates accept gay marriage petition (news.smh.com.au)