61. UNITING CHURCH POSITION ON MARRIAGE (Lu Senituli and Hedley Fihaki)

Please note that proposals below are not necessarily in their final agreed form. Formal minutes of the 14th Assembly will be published as soon as practicable. 

Further coverage on the marriage discussion: http://assembly2015.uca.org.au/culturally-appropriate-marriage-discussion-to-continue/

That the Assembly

1. publicly state its current policy on marriage as being between a man and woman as resolved by the 1997 National Assembly and acknowledged by the 2012 National Assembly; and

2. reject public covenants for same-gender unions.

Rationale

In the light of:

a) the process implemented by the Thirteenth Assembly in 2012 asking the Doctrine Working Group “to prepare a discussion paper on the theology of marriage within the Uniting Church, and to explore its implications for public covenants for same-gender relations”;

b) the fact that the 2015 report by “Task Group on the theology of marriage and public covenants for same-gender relationships within the Uniting Church” to the Fourteenth Assembly, was unable to provide a biblical and theological basis for redefining the Church’s Christian doctrine of marriage as a male-female union to embrace same-gender unions;

c) the unambiguous testimony of Scripture to marriage as the union of a man and a woman, highlighted by the DWG witness to the ‘deep scriptural tradition in which male-female duality and male-female union are located right at the heart of the divine purpose’ (DWG Discussion Paper on Marriage p. 9); and,

d) the fact that the national consultation highlighted that the “largest number of respondents” were of the view that “Marriage is the exclusive term for a covenant between a man and a woman”, and that a “significant minority of responses supported a broadening of the definition of marriage to include same gender relationships” (p.4);

we believe it is therefore appropriate and necessary for the Assembly to publically reaffirm the UCA’s current position on marriage and to reject public covenants for same – gender unions.