Anglican Bishops in Australia have voted down a statement against gay marriages that sought to affirm the “traditional view” of marriage as only between a man and a woman. 

The statement, introduced by the conservative Sydney Diocese and its Archbishop Kanishka Raffel, said that solemnising same-sex marriages was “contrary to the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church.”

At the 18th General Synod of the Anglican Church held earlier this week, the statement found overwhelming support among the laity and the priests. The statement passed in the House of Laity (63-47) and in the House of Clergy (70-39), but was blocked by the Anglican Bishops. The House of Bishops narrowly voted against the statement 12-10. 

Tears And Confusion After Synod Vote Fails To Block Gay Marriages

Archbishop Raffel said he “deeply regretted” that the House of Bishops had voted to block the move to reject same-sex marriages. 

“Failing to make these affirmations today has left us in a perilous position, and no one should be mistaken about that,” the Archbishop said. 

Archbishop Raffel pointed to the splits in the Anglican Church in Canada, US and New Zealand after the approval of same-sex marriages in their respective chruches. The Archbishop said that he had been approached by people who said they would leave the Synod, but he had urged them not to do so, reported Eternity News

In a statement Tasmanian Bishop Richard Condie, known for his anti-LGBTQI stances, said that there were “tears and confusion” after the vote.  “A number of orthodox bishops are concerned about the implications for our common life and work in the days ahead,” Bishop Condie said.

Anglican Church Divided On The Issue Of Gay Marriages

The issue of same-sex marriages have roiled the church for some time, especially after Australia voted in a national referendum in 2017 to legalise gay marriages. 

In 2020, the Church’s top judicial authority, the Appellate Tribunal, opined that blessings of same-sex marriages was not inconsistent with the Anglican Church’s Constitution. The Tribunal said that it was the General Synod that should determine Church’s view about blessing same-sex marriages.

The Sydney Diocese’s attempt to get a statement passed in the Synod, which was meeting after two years due to the COVID-19 restrictions, seemed to be in response to the Tribunal’s opinion. 

The statement wanted to “uphold marriage as it was ordained from the beginning, being the exclusive union of one man and one woman”. It further said that “the solemnisation of a marriage between a same-sex couple is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church.  Any rite or ceremony that purports to bless a same-sex marriage is not in accordance with the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church.”

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