A straight couple hoping to get married at Ebenezer St John’s Presbyterian Church in Australia recently had their wedding canceled by Minister Steven North because he noticed on Facebook that the couple supported marriage equality.
The couple doesn’t want their names publicized, but they spoke with a reporter from the Brisbane Times.
In August, when the nation was considering a postal referendum that would move the conversation forward on marriage equality, the bride posted this message on Facebook:
“I know it’s something not everyone will agree on and that’s fine but this is what I stand for and frankly it doesn’t effect [sic] my relationship with [my partner] one bit“…
It wasn’t long before she heard from the minister:
“By continuing to officiate it would appear either that I support your views on same-sex marriage or that I am uncaring about this matter. As you know, neither statement is correct.
“Also, if the wedding proceeded in the Ebenezer St John’s church buildings, the same inferences could be drawn about the Presbyterian denomination. Such inferences would be wrong.“
If the Catholic Church refused to marry couples who disagreed about social issues, they’d perform very few weddings. Isn’t it enough that the couple agrees to follow religious principles in their own marriage without denigrating the LGBTQ people in their lives? Who knew that being a bigot was a prerequisite to getting married in the Presbyterian Church of Australia?
All the more reason to dump these churches altogether. If they want to enforce hate, then decent people everywhere should respond by walking away — and taking their tithe money with them.
The couple in this case was fortunate to find a new venue (and a retired minister with a heart to perform the ceremony), but not before they informed North that they were getting the hell out of that church.
In an emotive written response to Mr North, the couple said they would no longer attend Ebenezer St John’s church as a result of the minister’s decision.
“We feel this decision is absolutely disgraceful and is a disgrace to you and all the church, especially when we have been loyal and valued members of this congregation for 10 years,” they wrote.
“You were made aware from the beginning of our proceedings that we had gay friends and also that people in our wedding party were gay. How could you assume that we would abandon them or degrade them with regards to same-sex marriage?
“We understand we did agree with the teachings of the church in our marriage counselling but just because we agree with that for our own lives, doesn’t mean that we have to push those beliefs onto others.”
Good for them, but they’re better off without the Church. If they were looking for a place that preached kindness and decency, a religious institution encouraging members to vote against marriage equality isn’t the place to be.