Federal MPs will discuss gay marriage with their constituents after a bill was passed in parliament on Thursday, and they will find a variety of views in the Greek community.

A spokesperson for the support network, Greek and Gay, said the group welcomed any move towards recognising same-sex marriage.
“It’s about time we were treated as equal and it’s about time we were able to get married,” the spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

A Greens motion, calling on MPs to consult voters on equal treatment of same sex couples, was passed by a single vote in parliament on Thursday.

But St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College Academic Secretary, Dr Philip Kariatlis, ruled out same sex marriage within the Greek Orthodox tradition.

“Marriage is there to reflect the love of God, and the love of God is unitive, complementary and life-giving,” he said.
“And, as such, that cannot happen within same-sex couples, so the Orthodox Church wouldn’t recognise gay marriage.”

Dr Kariatlis said the church would have no objection to equal legal rights for same-sex couples.
“Whatever rights married couples have, there’s no reason these couples shouldn’t have these rights,” he said.

He said the Greek concept of sin, ‘amartia’, was better understood as ‘missing the mark’.
“Homosexuality, we would see as a misdirected energy, not being directed at God,” he said.
“And what is very big for the Orthodox Church is you condemn the sin, but not the sinner.”

Dr Kariatlis stressed the role of the Church was not to emphasise rules, but to find Christ.
“The role of the Church is to continue to show love,” he said.

Former co-convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Lobby, Demetra Giannakopoulos, said community attitudes are changing.
“It’s not that long ago we struggled with marriage between Greeks and non-Greeks,” she said.
“There’s no doubt about it – the support for same-sex marriage has certainly increased.”

Ms Giannakopoulos welcomed the motion, adding that “great strides have been made” in achieving equality for same-sex couples over the past couple of years.

In 2005, the Federal Government changed the Marriage Act to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
But Ms Giannakopoulos, who is today attending a rally in support of same-sex marriage, said she expects the Act to change in the coming years.
“It’s just a realisation that it’s not going to damage other marriages,” Ms Giannakopoulos, a lawyer, said.
“It’s about strengthening families, it’s about strengthening communities, and it doesn’t matter how your family is constituted, as long as it’s loving.”

She said it was simply a question of equality.
“You can’t be a little bit equal, you’re either equal or you’re not,” she said.

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