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Adelaide Archbishop backs equal rights for gay couples

The Adelaide Archdiocese has given support for a South Australian Parliamentary Bill giving gay and lesbian couples access to the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

The Advertiser reports that Archbishop Philip Wilson (pictured) threw his support behind the Statute Amendment (Relationships) Bill yesterday "so that people can be properly protected in their rights".

The Bill would give equal rights to same-sex couples in areas such as property, inheritance, superannuation and medical laws, and bring SA in line with other states.

Discussing the Bill at a meeting of Parliament's Social Development Committee, Archbishop Wilson emphasised the importance of protecting the union of marriage but said the law also should be extended to protect the rights of same-sex couples.

"We clearly regard marriage as being a unique type of relationship . . . but at the same time we recognise the fact that there are people in society who live in other kinds of relationships," he said. "The difficulty that we find in a modern society is that we are living in a time of change.

"It seems to me that it's possible to (give same-sex couples equal rights) by defining the terms clearly and making sure . . . we don't use ambiguous terms in the legislation."

The Bill also was supported by Presbyterian Church Minister Stefan Stucki yesterday, who also wanted to protect the union of marriage.

But representatives from the Assemblies of God and Pray SA argued strongly against the Bill. "We stand against anything that would undermine (marriage) and the Bill would certainly undermine it," Pastor Ken Graham said on behalf of Pray SA.

Let's Get Equal Campaign spokesman Matthew Loader welcomed Archbishop Wilson's support for extending rights to same-sex couples.

"We're very pleased with the comments that were made by the Catholic Archbishop. His comments, from a major church, indicate that this Bill simply isn't as controversial as some people are suggesting," he said.

Mr Loader said he would support Archbishop Wilson's proposal to replace the term "domestic partner" in the Bill.

Equal rights backed for gay couples (The Advertiser 17/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Adelaide
Statutes Amendment (Relationships) Bill 2004 (Parliament of South Australia)

British bishops ban discrimination against gays, co-habitors (CathNews 9/2/05)
NZ Bishops' last-ditch bid to block gay union Bill (CathNews 6/12/04)
Bishop has 'no difficulty' with civil recognition for gay couples (CathNews 27/10/04)
Papal envoy conciliatory on gay relationships (CathNews 6/5/04)

A "No" to Homophobia, and Homosexual Acts (Zenit 9/3/05)
Gay Marriage 'Insidious' Pope Declares (Big News Network 22/2/05)
Cardinal Sandoval calls for respect for homosexuals without harming the family (Catholic News Agency 23/2/05)
Canadian cardinal says same-sex law could affect religious freedom (Catholic News Service 18/2/05)

17 Mar 2005