SAME SEX MARRIAGE: Religious Australians have some thinking to do, according to a Gympie pastor.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE: Religious Australians have some thinking to do, according to a Gympie pastor. Contributed

Religious Australians 'may walk away from marriage'

WILL followers of major religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam consider rejecting state sanctioned marriage if marriage equality laws conflict with their religious beliefs?

A Gympie Christian leader says many will consider it.

Much may depend on the detailed wording of the new law, which a majority of Australian voters have now supported in general terms.

But Gympie Christian identity Dean Comerford says there will still be a conflict for many between same sex marriage and God's law.

Pastor Comerford, of the Gympie Community Church, says Christians may no longer trust the state as a custodian of the institution of marriage, no matter how much they may accept same sex couples and relationship diversity.

If churches retained marriage as a religious and community institution, but rejected the role of the state, their followers may be legitimately married in the eyes of the church, but legally living in a de facto relationship.

He says many Christians will be pondering the implications of any legislative change for themselves and their faith.

With similar relevant doctrine applying to the other Abrahamic religions, the concern could also affect Jews and Muslims.

"I don't know the answer and I don't know what I will do," Pastor Comerford said yesterday.

"I don't have to agree with you to love you, but I am caught between God's love for all of us and God's law that marriage is between a man and a woman.

"Would a gay couple be welcome in my church? Yes, absolutely and I hope they would be accepted by all of us. But would I marry them? No," he said yesterday.

Mr Comerford questioned claims that Christians were almost evenly divided and were overall in support of a change to include same sex relationships in the definition of marriage.

"I think if you surveyed people who attend churches, 90 per cent would be against the change and many would question whether the state is now a trustworthy custodian of the institution of marriage," he said.