Christian school students rally for ACT marriage equality bill
A Facebook site supporting the ACT’s same-sex marriage bill has been set up by a former student of a Canberra Christian school after the principal sent out a letter from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) urging parents against the bill.
Signed by ACL managing director Lyle Shelton, the letter sent to parents from Trinity Christian School says the bill is a potential threat to Christian schools’ freedoms, and asks people to write to their MP asking them to vote against the bill.
“The ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell has said there will be exemptions for churches but we don’t know what they are,” Shelton writes.
Shelton quotes Cardinal George Pell, who states that if same-sex marriage is adopted in Australia, “...there will then be enormous pressure to present homosexual unions as being as valid as real marriage, and to prevent the teaching of the Christian understanding of sexuality, marriage and family, even in church schools.”
The letter was sent to parents last week in an email from Trinity principal Andrew Clayton.
This week, a chalked rainbow crossing appeared in a school car park in support of marriage equality.
Over 800 people have ‘liked’ the ‘Trinity Christian School Students and Alumni for Marriage Equality’ page since Saturday.
Former student Michael Mazengarb, who created the page, said the message sent to parents was “inappropriate”.
“A lot of people contacted me – friends and former students expressing their disappointment [in the letter],” Mazengarb said.
“A lot of people thought that it went beyond the role of a principal.”
Sending the letter to parents, principal Andrew Clayton wrote: “Although this is not a usual practice for me as principal, I believe it is an appropriate response given the potential this bill has to impact the very nature of our school.”
Trinity Christian School declined to comment when contacted by GNN.
The ACT same-sex marriage bill is likely to be approved in October, however Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated the Commonwealth may challenge it on Constitutional grounds.
"The ACT is entitled to do what it can within the law," Abbott said.