Click here to view our submission to the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom as established by the Prime Minister on 14 December 2017.
View the associated media release here.
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
Click HERE to read our Uniting for Civil Marriage Equality statement.
Contact Warren Talbot (National Secretary) to sign the statement – see contact details on statement.
(Pictured: Uniting Network Australia’s logo [among other organisations] in support of marriage equality – we say “no” to a plebiscite).
(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…
Click here for more info & to purchase your ticket(s) and accommodation.
Uniting Network is the forum for LGBTI members and their friends and supporters in the Uniting Church in Australia. We support the inclusion of LGBTI members and leadership within the Church, for Marriage Equality and for Refugees and the Persecuted internationally.
Please join us as we march together at Sydney Mardi Gras Parade 2016, where we say “LGBTI Refugees Are Welcome Here!” We will be marching wearing black (one of the UCA colours, and to express our sorrow); and carrying banners, signs, and red and white lanterns (the other UCA colours, to shine light in the darkness); and drumming (to demonstrate our frustration and anger at the current situation).
A $25 registration fee covers basic costs for vehicle hire, resources, and a T-shirt for all participants. REGISTER HERE.
Further details will be sent to participants closer to the day.
Venue: Parade is on Saturday 5th March 2016. We will gather at Pitt Street Uniting Church in the early afternoon to pray and to complete any last-minute organising (including signing a volunteer participation form to be covered by the Uniting Church’s public liability insurance). We will then make our way to the parade marshalling area in Hyde Park.
Contact Details: Keith Gerrard, NSW/
LGBTQI Refugees – Australia can do more: Queer Thinking Forum
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)
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
Registration Essential: https://register.eventarc.com/32715/lgbtiq-refugees-time-to-do-more
We’re seeking your feedback – email us at email@example.com
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)
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.
Every year, more than 80,000 people descend on Victoria Park for Fair Day. This year, Uniting Network will have a stall with information about our group, a list of affirming congregations in Sydney, and information about our Mardi Gras float for this year. But most importantly, it’s a chance to meet people, have fun, and share our message with the wider community.
If you’d like to volunteer for a shift on the stall, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the roster. Or just come along and say g’day, grab one of our badges, and enjoy the rest of the festival.
21st February at 11:00am – 9:00pm
Victoria Park, City Road, Chippendale, NSW
For more information about Fair Day, go to www.mardigras.org.au/2016-festival-event-guide/fair-day
Join UNA members & friends in 2016! Assemble from midday; March at 2.00pm sharp; party in the park until late.
Melbourne’s iconic annual Midsumma Pride March recognises and celebrates Victoria’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex and transgender community, while remembering the road we have already travelled on this journey to equity.
On Sunday 31 January 2016, Midsumma Pride March will celebrate it’s 21st Anniversary, so be sure you are there to show your colours! It is a key date on Victoria’s cultural calendar and a destination for interstate and international visitors.
The theme for 2016 is “Marriage Equality”!
There are two ways you can take part in the Midsumma Pride March:
Get your group together to march down Fitzroy Street, St Kilda and show your pride!
Are you proud? Got something to want to tell the world? Want to do it colourfully and publicly? We have just the answer; register your group to march down Fitzroy Street as part of the Midsumma Pride March.
Whilst we call it a march, we enthusiastically encourage dancing, singing, strutting, catwalking and voguing. The more choreographed and fabulous your group is, the more impact we can make, and the more spectacular the event gets. Take a look at Some Pride March Inspiration for a few ideas from around the world.
Purchase a picnic pack and join us for the post-march celebrations in Catani Gardens
Following the march down Fitzroy Street, the energy and pride will continue at Catani Gardens for a family-friendly, dynamic picnic in the park. Local traders will be selling delicious, delectable and devilishly good picnic baskets, so after you’ve watched the March, head down to Catani Gardens, grab a picnic basket and join us for the community celebrations.
More info @ https://midsumma.org.au/