Melbourne’s Anglican church has formally voted to record its “sorrow” over a regional Victorian diocese’s decision to bless same-sex marriages.
The nod of approval given by the Wangaratta diocese in August has angered the Melbourne church’s governing body.
Melbourne minister Robert Miller on Friday night moved a motion expressing “sorrow” over the regional diocese’s move, labelling it “profoundly disappointing”, “saddening” and disrespectful to the national church.
But the Melbourne vote of condemnation wasn’t unanimous, with some members of the governing body, known as a synod, praising the Wangaratta diocese’s choice to “show love”.
It comes days after Sydney archbishop Glenn Davies said Anglicans who backed same-sex marriage should leave the church.
“If people wish to change the doctrine of our church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican church by abandoning the plain teaching of scripture,” Davies said in an address to the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney on Tuesday. “Please leave us.
“We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.”
In a letter to ministers on Thursday, the Southern Queensland archbishop’s commissary, Reverend Jeremy Greaves, said there had been “deep distress” about Davies’s comments and his views did not reflect that of the Anglican church in southern Queensland.
The archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, said all members of the LGBTIQ community were welcome in the Anglican church in Perth and said it was “troubling that the welcome is not universal”.
Soon after the Wangaratta decision, Melbourne archbishop Philip Freier, who is Anglican primate of Australia, referred it to the appellate tribunal, the national church’s highest court.
The official position of the Anglican church of Australia is that marriage is only between a man and a woman. This was affirmed at a meeting last year of Australia’s bishops, who agreed that if the doctrine was to change it should be through the church’s constitution and laws.