WANGARATTA’S bishop has become the country’s first senior Anglican cleric publicly to recognise that the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia has become inevitable.
Bishop John Parkes – a former barrister – has told the Chronicle that he believes the country has “grown up” and that the federal government will be bound within a relatively short time to change the Marriage Act to enable people of the same gender to marry.
He admits that the challenge of such a move for religious faiths will be complex – but does not believe that gay marriage will become “a betrayal of the Gospel or the end of the world”.
“As I read the Bible in context, as I read the way that the church has dealt with it and now deals with it, I can find no biblical prohibition,” the bishop said.
His view has been welcomed by Muriel Porter, a Melbourne journalist and academic and a progressive member of Australia’s 250-member Anglican general synod, or church ‘parliament’.
“I hope that many more bishops speak out as Bishop Parkes has done because I know that there are a number of bishops and leading clergy in this country who wish to see faithful, loving, monogamous same-sex relationships honoured with marriage,” Dr Porter said yesterday.
“If they keep silent nothing will happen.
“Silence will just allow hard-line fundamentalists to dominate the debate.
“But if our leading clergy speak up like this, as Bishop Parkes has done, then I would see the church coming in a much more friendly way – and more quickly – to a resolution on this question.”