Australian Christians support same sex marriage
AUSTRALIAN Christians support same-sex nuptials and don't want any marriage equality reforms to include extra discrimination clauses, according to a revealing new poll.
According to the Galaxy Research poll which questioned 1000 people on the issue, 54 per cent of Australian Christians support marriage equality.
The questionnaire found 49 per cent of those who identified as being Christian opposed civil celebrants being able to refuse to services to same sex couples on the basis of "conscientious belief".
Christian Millenials surveyed opposed the right to refuse services by 56 per cent, while 31 per cent supported the proposed move.
Such an exemption has been flagged in some proposals to current marriage laws.
However support for the changes falls with those Christians who described themselves as "regular churchgoers".
According to the survey regular churchgoers were those who attended church "at least two to three times a month".
Of those who said they visited church often, 59 per cent said they opposed changes to marriage laws to allow same sex couples to tie the knot, 44 per cent of that group said they strongly opposed the proposal that same sex couples should be able to marry.
Of those who attended church monthly or several times a year 63 per cent supported gay marriage, 78 per cent of those who attended once a year or less supported the move, while 81 per cent of those who said they were Christian but never went to church were behind the change.
The survey also found 61 per cent of Christians are unhappy with conservative religious groups representing the views of all Christians, including 55 per cent of regular churchgoers. Seventeen per cent said they were happy.
When asked if civil celebrants should be allowed to refuse services to any couple on the basis of conscientious belief, 43 opposed the move, 51 per cent of Millenials were against it.
The poll was commissioned by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
National spokesperson Shelley Argent said the poll proved there was strong support amongst Christians for the changes to same-sex marriage.
"With Australian Christians so conclusively behind marriage equality, it's time for politicians to have a free vote and get this done."
"Changes to the Marriage Act have always been made through the parliamentary process and should remain so."
"Politicians should stop paying so much attention to conservative Christian advocacy organisations which a majority of Christians feel don't represent them."
The Very Reverend Peter Catt, the Dean of St John's Cathedral and spokesperson for Progressive Christian Voice said: "This poll proves that Australian Christians believe everyone should be treated equally and fairly without discrimination."
"I'm pleased to see Australian Christians holding firm to Christ's injunction to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves."
Long-time marriage equality advocate and spokesperson for the group just.equal, Rodney Croome, said the poll represented a broad view of Christian values.
"We wanted to ensure we polled a representative sample of Christians including but not limited to those who go to church regularly," he told News Corp.
"I wasn't surprised that how often people attend church correlates with opposition to marriage equality."
"What I was surprised by is that frequency of church attendance seems to make little difference to how Christians respond to the issue of wedding service providers being allowed to refuse their services to same-sex and other couples."
"Clearly, they see refusal of service as a matter of discrimination not faith."
Marriage equality legislation is expected to be introduced when Parliament resumes next month.