Gladstone reverend disagrees with call to refuse service

A GLADSTONE priest and local businesses don't agree with a call from one of Australia's top Anglican reverends to refuse services if they are offended by same-sex unions.

Dr Gordon Preece, who heads the Ethos Centre for Christianity and Society, said the region's 11,792 Anglicans should remember the church "abhorred" homophobia, so a gentle approach was needed when refusing to provide services to gay people.

Here are thoughts on the subject from some Gladstone locals:

Anglican Parish of Boyne River Reverend Steven Schwarzrock:

THE suggestion that wedding suppliers should in any way refuse services to people because of their sexuality can only be described as discrimination and should not be accepted by Australian society.

While the doctrine of the Anglican Church will not allow for the church to marry a gay couple, our duty is still to communicate the love of God.

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As people of faith we need to be true to our beliefs, but if we are going to be loving and respectful it means befriending people even if we are uncomfortable with their life choices.

We are seeing a steady change in the acceptance and recognition of homosexual people as equal and welcome members of our society.

BIGGER ISSUES: One reader questioned whether the big social issue of our time is marriage equality or whether there are bigger concerns.
BIGGER ISSUES: One reader questioned whether the big social issue of our time is marriage equality or whether there are bigger concerns. Thinkstock

While this is very difficult to many people of faith we must still strive to be people of love and not people of prejudice.

The church will always wrestle with change in society that goes against the traditional stance of the church, but it doesn't always mean the church is correct in its approach or statements.

The church is a family and like most large families if change is to come it will come slowly.

When an amendment comes to the Marriage Act the doctrine of the Anglican Church will not allow us to marry gay couples, and our ability to show different levels of hospitality will depend on where our family is along that journey.

As many of us in the church work at respecting the rights of others to do what they believe, society needs to accept the rights of the church to protect the beliefs of our family, but that does not allow us to encourage service industries to deny service to a particular group of people in society.

Jan Koivunen, of Jan's Flower Shoppe:

THE only person I have not served was someone who wanted me to cut the rose off them and just deliver the stems.

Obviously when I first started that sort of thing (gay marriage) wasn't out in the open, but in the last five years I have done three deliveries for same-sex ceremonies.

They don't go to that much trouble but business would pick up if they could get legally married.

In 47 years I have been doing flowers and covered a lot of ground.

I don't think there wouldn't be any law preventing me from not selling them to someone.

I would sell them in this case but not the stem one.

IMPASSIONED: Em and Mikayla Glossop want their daughter Ella to grow up knowing there is equality in Australia.
IMPASSIONED: Em and Mikayla Glossop want their daughter Ella to grow up knowing there is equality in Australia. Brenda Strong

Les Lawrence, of 1770 Golf Course Weddings:

AS far as I am concerned if same-sex couples are prepared to use our venue then send as weddings down as you like.

It doesn't affect what we do. I don't think business would increase by too much.

Depends on how many same sex couples out there, but not huge amounts compared to male-female marriages.

Maybe an increase of 5-10%.

It definitely won't hurt our business. We're happy to go whichever way, we are just here to work.

If they want to come down send them down from Gladstone or up from Bundaberg.

Lydia Evans, Cake It designer cakes and cupcakes:

I WOULD make a cake for a same-sex marriage. Why wouldn't I? I have no problem with that if I wasn't too busy.

I haven't done one yet which makes me think it isn't really big in Gladstone but I'm not sure.

I am booked out every week so I thought I might have done a couple if they were going on here.

People get me to do everything so if it was legal I would be a bit busier, but they would need to book in advance.

I couldn't really take on much more if (the law) gets changed.'



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