An Anglican bishop in Australia has come out in favour of same-sex marriage ahead of a possible referendum on the issue next February.
Ballarat's bishop Garry Weatherill, who opposes the referendum, told the ABC that he supported "marriage equality".
Bishop Weatherill said: "The local position of this particular bishop
is for marriage equality. The Bible teaches marriage is for man and
woman, that is pretty clear and that is our standard position. But it is
saying marriage is good for people and society, and I think whether or
not we approve of same gender relationships, we want people to be in
strong, monogamous and sustainable relationships that give harmony to
their lives and to the community."
His comments come after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this week
introduced legislation into the Lower House for a plebiscite on same-sex
marriage to be held on February 11.
The Labor opposition is expected to attempt to block the bill.
The bishop has spoken out against the
plebiscite, arguing that Parliament should decide on such matters and
that it is "almost inevitable" that hate speech will rise in the event
of a national vote.
"It is the issue of respect that concerns me about the plebiscite. It
is about the distress it could cause in the community, particularly
among young, gay or sexually confused young people," he said. "The
Government has quite sensibly tried to say there will be equal amounts
of money for both sides of the argument, but who knows where other money
will come from."