The Uniting Church in Australia could become the country's first Christian religious body to perform same-sex marriages.
The church's National Assembly requested a report by The Working Group On Doctrine (WDG) to determine whether the church's definition of marriage should change. The church currently defines marriage as “between a man a woman.”
The WDG report has recommended that marriage be defined as being between "two people."
“Noting the diverse range of views on this matter throughout the Church, and as a result of the study, prayer and consultation behind this Report, the WGD recommends that the Uniting Church adopt Option 4: Offer the rites of marriage to opposite-gender and same-gender couples, while allowing Ministers and Uniting Church authorised celebrants freedom of conscience to perform marriages or not,” the report concludes.
The term “same-gender” is used in the report instead of same-sex as it is easier to translate into different languages.
According to the report, "scientific research generally supports the view that people who are attracted to someone of the same gender were born that way."
"This knowledge supports the view that same-gender sexual attraction can be understood as part of God’s good and diverse creation rather than unnatural."
The report also notes "the injustices which LGBTIQ people have suffered in society and in the church.”
"It is common knowledge that discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation has very damaging impacts on their health and wellbeing."
"If the church is committed to learning from Jesus about challenging the injustice of excluding people then it will seriously consider extending marriage to couples of the same gender."
The Uniting Church National Assembly will debate the proposed changes when it meets in Melbourne from July 8–14.