RELATED: Same-sex marriage | Have your say
DEAN John Roundhill is unsure whether he will live to see one of the homosexual members of his congregation married.
“Quite possibly elsewhere in the world the Anglican Church could endorse [same-sex marriage]... other countries are more progressive, certainly the Canadian Anglican Church is,” he said.
“The Australian Anglican Church is quite polarized between very conservative voices and the more progressive voices…
“So we just get stuck.”
Even had the marathon meeting of Coalition MPs on Tuesday paved the way for same-sex marriage under civil law, Anglican clergy would still require a council of the church to change the order of orders of worship – something Dean Roundhill concedes is unlikely.
“But I would suspect [changes to civil law] would make that more likely,” he said.
The dean of St Paul’s Cathedral said it was a “complicated issue” for the Anglican community but for him, unconditional love goes to the heart of the gospel.
“We mustn’t over look the marginalised – [and yet] we make it a habit,” he said.
“We don't notice the poor person in the street, we don't notice the gay guy shut at home drinking whiskey, we don’t notice the migrant who’s stuck in a camp... so we [at St Paul’s Cathedral] pick up those issues.”
Dean Roundhill said the same-sex marriage debate had been couched in negative terms and encouraged people to look at the issue from another angle.
“We have been very concerned as a society as to what equal marriage might do to the concept of heterosexual marriage,” he said.
“I think the marriage debate should be viewed from a very different position – what benefits and joys would equal marriage bring to society?
“I don’t see it as a a negative debate.”
Dean Roundhill said relationships should be judged on their merits.
“What I preach and what others here preach is that sinning isn’t an easy kind of thing you can just paint on someone because of the relationship they’re in,” he said.
“It’s what you’re like within the relationship that determines if you are sinning and when two people are within a relationship, no matter who you are, your goal should be to love your partner.
“To put it bluntly, I think heterosexuals can be just as bad at that as homosexuals.”
And while he is unsure of what will occur in his lifetime he thinks future generations will see the issue in a very different light.
“My kids do not understand why the church and society are even troubled by the issue at all,” he said.
“We think things move slowly but when we look back at how things have changed over the last 15 years… in 15-years time we'll probably go, ‘what on Earth were they struggling over?’”
The Bendigo Advertiser contacted the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst which said it would only speak on the issue via a written statement, which is published online.