A marriage celebrant has changed his registration status from civil to religious so he does not have to marry gay couples.
Peter Blades, from Fullife Celebrations on the Gold Coast, said he voted ‘no’ in the recent same-sex marriage postal survey and is motivated by his Christian beliefs.
The marriage equality bill states religious celebrants are allowed to refuse to solemnise a marriage due to religious beliefs.
‘It’s always been tradition through cultures that marriage is between a man and a woman. I quite strongly uphold that view,’ Mr Blades told The Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘Personally for myself I have Christian beliefs. I voted no. As a Christian, I believe what the bible says and I didn’t believe it should be changed.’
Mr Blades said he thinks the word ‘marriage’ need not apply to same-sex couples, and prefers the term ‘civil partnership’.
Civil celebrants who do not wish to marry same-sex couples have until March 9 to change their status.
After becoming religious marriage celebrants they must make it clear in advertising material they will not marry same-sex couples.
Mr Blades was able to change his registration via the submission of an application to the marriage registrar.
He said he is happy to refer same-sex couples to other celebrants, and does not consider himself a bigoted person.
‘With the Marriage Act being amended on the 9th of December 2017, I felt it appropriate to now be identified as a Religious Marriage Celebrant,’ he said in a statement on the Fullife Celebrations website.
‘This was based on my religious beliefs. I still remain registered with the Attorney General’s Department, but I may refuse to solemnise same-sex marriages.
‘Nevertheless, I will assist same-sex couples with information and refer them to other celebrants.
‘This will also help couples to identify me as a person who solemnises marriages in accordance with their own religious beliefs.
‘So in this new era for marriages, I look forward to assisting many brides and grooms to have the wedding day they have dreamed of.’