Sydney archbishop thinks Christians are being ‘bullied’ over gay marriage

Speaking as efforts to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia gain momentum, the archbishop of Sydney has said Christians should not be “bullied” over the issue.

Anthony Fisher said he wanted to avoid being labelled bigoted, but that married opposite-sex couples were facing forces trying to “bully us all” into “redefining” marriage.

“Marriage brings together … man and woman, sex and love, love and babies, parents and children,” he said on Sunday. “To say this is not to criticise anyone.”

“To say marriage is special is not to demean these other realities, rather it respects the diverse ways of being human and loving, not pretending away the differences.”

The archbishop oversaw the renewing of vows by 120 straight married couples.

The Guardian reports that between the couples, who renewed the vows at St Mary’s cathedral in Sydney, they had 1,700 years of marriage.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a staunch opponent of equal marriage, but is facing pressure to allow his MPs a free vote on a cross-party marriage bill, following progress in Ireland and the United States.

Ahead of a bill that is set to come to a vote in August, agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce warned that allowing gay people legal equality could lead to “judgement” from trade partners in Asia.

Indonesia’s foreign ministry has since denied that this would be the case.