Civil marriage is different and distinct from religious marriage. No religious institution can be forced to marry a lesbian or gay couple against their beliefs (in much the same way as certain religious bodies cannot be forced to marry people who are divorced).
While marriage equality will take nothing away from the religious freedom of those who oppose it, it will restore and uphold the religious freedom of those in favour.
In Australia, the Society of Friends (Quakers), some Jewish synagogues and rabbis, the Metropolitan Community Church, and individual congregations and celebrants within the Anglican, Uniting Church and Baptist churches all condone or perform same-sex unions. Over 100 leading Christian ministers have publicly declared their support for marriage equality including several Anglican bishops.
But their religious freedoms and views are being disrespected, because the same-sex ceremonies they perform lack the legal standing of marriage.
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