Christian group calls for PM to abandon plebiscite
Over 40 clergy have written an open letter to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for the government to abandon its planned plebiscite on marriage equality and allow a free vote in Parliament instead.
The group of interfaith church leaders suggest that a plebiscite would be damaging to LGBT people in the community and cause rifts within congregations.
Reverend Angus McLeay, spokesperson for the alliance of faith leaders said:
"A national plebiscite has the potential to cause significant harm to Christians and others of faith through a highly politicised moral debate that polarises our communities and silences LGBTI people of faith."
McLeay and his group have been prompted to speak out following suggestions by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that exemptions should be made to anti discrimination law during the plebiscite to allow for an even debate.
LGBT advocates are concerned if this should occur, the ACL will launch a fear campaign that will be of significant detriment to the health and wellbeing of LGBT people and their families.
“The Australian Christian Lobby does not speak for large sections of the Christian community. We are writing to the Prime Minister so that he is aware of the diversity of opinion within faith communities and the concerns held by many over the plebiscite path,” McLeay said.
“ACL claim to be a voice for Christian values yet many struggle to see the grace and love of Jesus in their words."
In the letter the group says a plebiscite runs a serious risk that:
• faith communities will become polarised over a politicised moral debate
• LGBTI people of faith will be further silenced and threatened
• the process will come at great cost to LGBTI Australians and their families, with risk of increased anxiety, depression and suicide
• undermine relations between the LGBTI and faith communities