Christian archbishop hits out at church for ‘dishonouring God’ by acknowledging same-sex marriage

Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies

Glenn Davies, an Anglican archbishop in Sydney, has criticised a tribunal vote to allow the blessing of same-sex marriages, calling it “the blessing of sin”.

Despite claiming his church “welcomes all people”, Davies said that “the teaching of the Bible, and therefore of the Anglican Church, was that the sexual union of two persons of the same gender was sin”.

A vote last year in the Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta in Victoria permitted priests to officially bless same-sex couples who had already married.

Leaders in the church subsequently appealed the decision to the Appellate Tribunal, the church’s highest court. On 11 November, the tribunal voted five-to-one in favour of allowing the blessing of same-sex marriages.

The church will still not allow priests to officiate same-sex marriages. However, bishops will be able to bless couples married under civil law, something Davies believes “would amount to the blessing of sin”.

In its landmark decision, the tribunal wrote: “The blessing of same-sex marriages does not necessarily involve denial of God.”

It said that marriage equality in Australia showed the “evolving social and legal environment within Australian society where the church exercises its mission”.

Davies however, said the decision was “hard to fathom, as it is contrary ot the teaching of the Bible” and “undermines the clear teaching of Scripture and thereby dishonours God”.

He added that the Anglican General Synod, the church’s parliament, would consider the issue in 2021 and would discuss whether the decision reflects “the Old and New Testaments [which are] the ultimate rule and standard of faith”. He claims these “contain all things necessary to salvation”.

Former Bishop Reverend John Parkes, who pushed through the initial vote in Wangaratta, has celebrated the tribunal’s decision.

Discussing Davies’ criticisms, Parkes said that some dioceses, “Sydney among them”, take a “very literal view” of scripture.

“There are many dioceses that want to look behind the words and consider the circumstances in which the scriptures were written,” he continued.

“The contemporary theological perspective says God’s love and God’s acceptance is the paramount virtue.”

This follows Victoria’s recent bill to ban conversion therapy in the state. Lawmakers said the pseudo-scientific practices “won’t be tolerated”.

Parkes said: “I’m highly delighted for same-sex couples who love each other and are faithful to each other and who, for a long time, have been on the fringes of the church.

“This, I hope, is a sign that God loves you and we welcome you.”

Before retiring, Parkes conducted a service for married Wangaratta Anglican priests, John Davis and Rob Whalley.