Category Archives: News

MEDIA RELEASE | Uniting Church LGBTIQ Network welcomes same-sex marriage postal survey result – and urges the Uniting Church to change its marriage policy

The Uniting Church’s LGBTIQ Network has welcomed the result of the postal survey concerning same-sex marriage.

“It is very pleasing to see that more than 60% of Australians voted to support same-sex marriage”, stated Uniting Network national secretary Warren Talbot.

“Although unnecessary, the postal survey confirmed that a significant majority of Australians support marriage equality for LGBTIQ Australians. Marriage is about love and commitment, not the sex or gender identity of the two people involved.”

Mr Talbot said that the Parliament should proceed, before Christmas, to amend the Marriage Act.

“Proposals to introduce new forms of discrimination against LGBTIQ people are completely unacceptable. The draft Bill from Senator Dean Smith provides adequate protection for religious freedom, in addition to those already included in anti-discrimination legislation.”

Mr Talbot said that it was now time for the Uniting Church to amend its policy on marriage.

“It is a plain denial of the Gospel that all LGBTIQ people are systematically denied access to one of the church’s major rituals, namely marriage. This policy sends a message of exclusion and rejection to LGBTIQ communities and others.

“Our Uniting Church already accepts openly LGBTIQ clergy, including those in committed same-sex relationships.

“There is an opportunity, at the Assembly meeting in 2018, to change the church’s policy and give substance to our stated aim of being truly inclusive.”

Mr Talbot suggested that quite a number of Uniting Church clergy will want to celebrate same-sex marriages whether the Assembly changes its policy or not.

“It might be a case of local congregations taking the lead, witnessing to the love and grace of God as we risk following the Way of Jesus.”

Warren Talbot – Secretary
Uniting Network Australia

Uniting Network at Mardi Gras 2016

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(Photo by Andrew Hill)

On Saturday 5th March, Sydney’s Oxford Street was awash with rainbows and glitter and filled with music for the annual Mardi Gras parade. On one float, 70 people marched with ‘Uniting Network’ – the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer) members in the Uniting Church and our friends, families, and supporters. Marchers met in Pitt Street Uniting Church beforehand with Uniting marchers to pray and heard from Steve Teulan (of Uniting Ageing) and Peter Worland (Uniting CEO). Then, the group made its way to Hyde Park. On the way, they were drumming (to demonstrate anger) and holding lanterns (as a symbol of light). This is because the theme of the float was more sombre than the typical Mardi Gras celebrations: “LGBTIQ Refugees Are Welcome Here.” The float was a protest directed towards the Australian government’s treatment of people fleeing persecution overseas because of their LGBTIQ status. There are currently numerous LGBTIQ people having their claims of asylum in Australia slowly processed; some are detained on Manus Island. You can find pictures from the night (taken by Andrew Hill) here and a photo montage here.

The parade followed a forum held at Pitt Street on 24th February with the theme ‘LGBTIQ Refugees: Australia Can Do More.’ Speakers included Gillian Triggs of the Human Rights Commission, Imam Nur Wasame of ‘Marhaba’ for LGBTIQ Muslims, and Che Bishop COO of Asylum Seekers Centre. The forum was well-attended by church members and community groups, and finished with new avenues for concerned people to take action together.

After a hectic, exciting, and humbling experience preparing for Mardi Gras, Uniting Network now looks forward to the national gathering in Melbourne in June: “Daring to Reach Out: Honouring Our Diversity.” More info below…

LGBTQI Refugees – Australia can do more: Queer Thinking Forum

LGBTQI Refugees – Australia can do more: Queer Thinking Forum

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Registration essential: https://register.eventarc.com/32715/lgbtiq-refugees-time-to-do-more

Hosted by Uniting Network Australia, and Pitt St Uniting Church

The conversation on LGBTIQ refugees demands immediate attention. There is an increasing number of asylum claims based on gender or sexual orientation, yet a narrowing of the political and media conversation about race and refuges in Australia.

Whether it is providing better care, support and rights to LGBTIQ refugees within the current system or whether it is changing the political landscape of Australia so that our nation can be a welcoming refuge for those fleeing persecution based on gender or sexuality, this forum will centre on the provocation that Australia can do more.

A panel of experts will explore some of the unique challenges faced by many LGBTQI refugees, outline the current complex policy landscape and propose strategies for long, medium and immediate term action to make our Australia a place of inclusiveness and refuge from gender violence and sexually-based persecution.

NB: This is a secular discussion. People from all walks of life are invited to attend.

Moderator: Rev. Dr. Margaret Mayman (Minister Pitt St Uniting Church)

Panellists:
Professor Dennis Altman (acclaimed author, Queer Wars)
Naomi Steer (National Director, Australia for UNHCR)
Imam Nur Warsame (Marhaba Melbourne)
Tim Wilson (Human Rights Commissioner)

Event Date: Wednesday 24th February 2016

Event Time: 7pm – 9pm

Venue: Pitt Street Uniting, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney 2010

Tickets: FREE

Registration Essential: https://register.eventarc.com/32715/lgbtiq-refugees-time-to-do-more

What are the best strategies UNA should adopt if we are to advance the cause of marriage equality prior to the July 2018 UCA Assembly?

We’re seeking your feedback – email us at info@unitingnetworkaustralia.org.au

A number of resources, including UNA’s official submission to the Assembly, are available below. These resources are from individuals or official groups within the Uniting Church. We would be pleased to receive any further resources, especially from within the Uniting Church, and we will add them to the website.

For our official UNA Call for Marriage Equality 2015, click here.
For UJA’s submission, click here.
For UNA’s Response to the Assembly Discussion Paper on Marriage 2014, click here.
For Pitt Street’s submission, click here.
For UJA’s Response to the Assembly Discussion Paper on Marriage 2014, click here.
Click here for the Assembly documents: the Working Group paper and the Bos paper, and decisions of the 1997 Assembly.
And here’s a great personal essay to get you thinking…
Marriage Equality and the Uniting Church (Author: Shelly Frances Kershaw)
Click here.
For Assembly decisions prior to 2015, click here.
For the Draft Decisions of the 2015 Assembly and the President’s Letter on Marriage, click here.

Uniting Network Australia says, ‘I do’ to marriage equality

Here you can find our statement to the members of the 14th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia re: marriage equality. 

A Call for Marriage Equality 

Australia has undergone many changes in attitudes to sexuality and gender identity during the past forty years. The Uniting Church has been one part of those changes. With both joy and pain we wrestled with matters of human sexuality through much of the nineties and the naughties. We are more mature, united and respectful of diversity as a result. | Read more..

SMH | Marriage equality would be a victory for ordinary Christians

The Sydney Morning Herald
Marriage equality would be a victory for ordinary Christians
June 30, 2015
Margaret Mayman

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(Following their conscience: Emotions flow in Dublin as Ireland votes in favour of allowing same-sex marriage. Photo: Cathal McNaughton)

The recent decision to legalise marriage for same sex couples in Ireland has been cast as a victory against the Catholic Church. What secular commentators miss is that it was a decisive victory for ordinary Christians. | Read more…