Archbishop Glenn DaviesMarriage equality advocates have spoken out after Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies labelled the prospect of same-sex couples marrying as “unholy matrimony”.

Archbishop Davies (pictured) also referred to “so-called gay marriage” as contrary to God’s law during his first presidential address to the Sydney synod, while warning of consequences for the entire country if Australia “slipped further and further away from the tenets of scriptural authority and biblical morality”. Davies, 62, was elected as Sydney’s new Anglican Archbishop in August.

“Specious arguments for ‘marriage equality’ and ‘equal opportunity’ have become the mantra of many, without any serious engagement with the nature of marriage,” the Archbishop said.

“Even if the law regarding matrimony were to change in this country, we can still declare such a union as contrary to God’s law, or perhaps we should describe it simply as ‘unholy matrimony’.”

Australian Marriage Equality (AME) deputy director Ivan Hinton told the Star Observer that the Archbishop’s choice of words would be concerning to the majority of Christians in Australia who actually support the introduction of marriage equality.

“We are in a time where the Pope has asked Christians to work towards being more inclusive of LGBTI people and focus on what really matters.

“Last week the Anglican diocese of Perth became the latest faith group to declare their support for equal access to the civil institution of marriage,” Hinton said.

“It will be concerning to the majority of Australian Christians who support this reform when faith leaders use language intended to dehumanise and malign.”

During his speech, Archbishop Davies also decried the current debate over asylum seekers, claiming major political parties were using the issue as a “political football” and playing to “irrational fear”.

“No policy can justify the ill treatment of human beings, which either minimises or dehumanises their status as bearers of the image of God,” he said.

Hinton said it was hypocritical of the Archbishop to hold such views when at the same time he was committing hurt to LGBTI people and their families with his decision to attack them as not worthy enough in the eyes of God.

“The Archbishop should reflect on that statement, like the Anglican diocese of Perth have done, and open his heart to this issue,” he told the Star Observer.

“When he describes the loving relationships of couples who wish to commit their lives to one another as ‘unholy’ he continues to minimise and dehumanise many Australians.”

At an Equal Love rally in the NSW/Victorian border town of Albury, which attracted about 200 people last Saturday, Albury Archdeacon Father Peter MacLeod-Miller gave his public support for equal marriage laws, saying he hoped the opinions of younger people will have an impact on older, religious people who continue to oppose the reform.

“It would be great if the experience of younger people would free older people from fear,” Father MacLeod-Miller told the rally.

“In the end, love will have the last word.”

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