Rev Angus McLeay

Over 40 clergy have written an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, calling on his government to drop the planned plebiscite on marriage equality in favour of a free vote in parliament.

A plebiscite on the issue would polarise faith communities, silence LGBTI people of faith and cause anxiety in LGBTI communities, the alliance of clergy write in the letter.

The plebiscite campaign would also undermine relations between LGBTI and faith communities, they say.

“A national plebiscite has the potential to cause significant harm to Christians and others of faith through a highly politicised moral debate that polarises our communities and silences LGBTI people of faith,” spokesperson for the alliance Rev Angus McLeay (pictured) said.

The Australian Christian Lobby drew criticism this week for calling on the government to suspend federal anti-discrimination laws during the marriage equality plebiscite campaigns.

“The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) does not speak for large sections of the Christian community. We are writing to the Prime Minister so that he is aware of the diversity of opinion within faith communities and the concerns held by many over the plebiscite path,” Rev McLeay responded.

“ACL claim to be a voice for Christian values yet many struggle to see the grace and love of Jesus in their words.”

Queensland clergy who have signed the letter include Rev Dr Leigh Neighbour, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church in Brisbane; Rev Penelope Jones, priest at St Luke’s in Toowoomba; Rev Susan Pickering, minister of West End Uniting Church in Brisbane; and Rev Dr Noel Preston, minister of Uniting Church in Australia.

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