Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich has written a letter to the Anglican Church requesting a formal apology for their campaigning against marriage equality and for doubling down on discriminating against LGBTI students and teachers.
Greenwich addressed the letter to Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead, who authored the Diocese of Sydney’s policy banning same-sex weddings on Church-owned property.
“Rather than defend and argue for your view of so-called “traditional” definition of marriage, you chose instead to target the most vulnerable members of the LGBTIQ community with full page advertisements and television commercials attacking families with same-sex parents and trans and gender diverse young people,” Greenwich wrote in the impassioned letter.
“LGBTIQ mental support services recorded a spike in requests for support and high levels of distress during and after the campaign.
“It’s deeply troubling that instead of seeking to repair the church’s relationship with the LGBTIQ community, whom you knowingly harmed during the postal survey, your church is now seeking the power to legalise bullying against LGBTI students and teachers in non-government schools.”
Greenwich cites the Senate inquiry into the postal survey which found that the process caused significant harm to LGBTI people, including massive spikes in calls to support services.
The Equality Campaign co-chair’s request comes as Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Dr Phillip Aspinall took a stand against the Diocese of Sydney’s doubling down on discrimination in his own open letter.
“Within the Anglican Church there is a wide spectrum of understanding about human sexuality and gender,” Aspinall wrote.
“Within a school community there may also be diversity of opinion. For some, this is a sensitive topic.
“However, differences of opinion do not negate the necessity for school environments to enable all people to feel included, to be safe and to flourish,” the letter states.
“I want to ensure students and staff in Anglican schools in Southern Queensland that I do not anticipate any change in our approach to the operation of our schools.”
A list of Anglican schools last week published an open letter supporting the right to discriminate, with dozens of schools signing the missive.
Performer and advocate Jordan Raskopoulos posted the list on Facebook, which has since gone viral.
Greenwich says the Anglican diocese has agreed to meet with him over the letter.