Australian churches preach against same-sex marriage bill
Australia's three main Christian denominations urged parishioners Sunday to pressure politicians to reject a bid to legalise same-sex marriages.
Leaders of the Catholic, Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches had priests read statements from the pulpit stressing that same-sex marriage would be inconsistent with religious teachings.
The move came a day before members of parliament were to consider two bills that would change the marriage law to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Sydney's Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen urged parishioners to lobby their representatives of parliament to vote against the bill.
"The right to be married extends equally, but only to those who are qualified," he said. "People already married are disqualified from marrying another, and siblings are rightly disqualified from marrying each other."
Catholic Cardinal George Pell said same sex-marriage would cause discrimination and injustice instead of removing them.
The Labor government will allow its members to vote according to their conscience, but the conservative opposition will vote against it as a bloc.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she will vote against the move to legalise same-sex marriage. She is not married and lives with her male partner.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said the clerics' campaign would damage their credibility.
"Polls show the majority of Australian Christians support marriage equality, as do many church leaders, and being told from the pulpit that their views are wrong will only strengthen their resolve to see equality prevail," Greenwich said.