By Andrew M. Potts
A Queensland Catholic priest has made headlines by publicly contradicting his Archbishop after that state voted to legalise altruistic surrogacy for same-sex couples and singles this month.
Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby lobbied Queensland’s Attorney-General Cameron Dick and wrote to state Parliament against the bill, which he claimed would harm the “institution of our family which is the foundation of our society”.
Bathersby quoted Pope Benedict XVI in his letter as saying, “the best chance children have of developing properly is found in a family because of the uniquely complementary roles played by husband and wife”.
But last week Father Stan Griffith of Caloundra Parish on the Sunshine Coast contradicted his Archbishop, speaking out in favour of surrogacy and of same-sex couples becoming parents.
“The most important thing is that a child is loved and treasured and I can see no reason that this would not be the case if both parents were the same sex,” Griffith told a Sunshine Coast Daily journalist.
“Families are different now … they’re not just straight mums and dads.
“Allowing same-sex couples to have children is an example of how the definition of ‘family’ is diversifying.”
Griffith also accused local MPs who voted against the bill of appealing to “people’s fear” and said their actions “smacked of discrimination”.
Griffith was joined in support for the bill by Richard Gowty, the Anglican Archdeacon of St Mark’s Church, Buderim.
Gowty said he fully supported the right of same-sex couples to have children.
“There are many same-sex couples in very stable relationships and they have the same desires for children as traditional parents,” he said.
“The issue is about the love a child’s parents provide, not the sexuality of the parents.”
It is unknown whether Griffith is being disciplined for his comments but when Sydney Star Observer called Caloundra Parish we were told he was not able to speak to journalists.
Last year Bathersby sacked Father Peter Kennedy of South Brisbane’s St Mary’s Church for, among other things, blessing same-sex couples and providing communion to gay and divorced people.