Australians made history on Wednesday when the country learned they’d unanimously voted in favor of same-sex marriage.
Stating that Australia had overwhelmingly voted in favor of same-sex marriage (BBC reports a staggering 61.6 percent) Houston has only one hope for the way believers and nonbelievers move forward:
“My hope is that once this becomes law, Australians will move forward in unity and love, viewing one another without labels.
I believe every person is created by God with a plan and purpose, and the focus of Hillsong Church has always been – and will always be – to point people to Jesus.
My personal belief in the Bible’s teachings on marriage will not change, and the work of our church will continue as usual as it does in many parts of the world where same sex marriage is legal.”
His statement echoes a similar press-release from August in which the megachurch pastor cited “faith and biblical teaching” as measures for determining what the Bible constitutes as marriage.
“I believe God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. The writings of the apostle Paul in Scripture on the subject of homosexuality are also clear, as I have mentioned in previous public statements.”
In Wednesday’s press release, Houston adds that the new legislation, which in-and-of itself holds a divisive power, should serve the community it was created for while also protecting the rights of those whose religious beliefs differ from that of the law.
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental part of a democratic society and must be upheld. Any attempt to force Christians to compromise their faith would be wrong.”
As Faithit previously reported, Houston has been outspoken in the months leading up to the November 7th vote, urging Christians to not be a “silent majority,” and to use the public poll as an opportunity to stand up for their beliefs.
Houston addressed the tension that often lies between “both sides” of the same-sex marriage debate, noting that some who advocate for “change to the definition of marriage have confused faith convictions with bigotry,” while opposing views—and often Christians—have a way of using their faith to “alienate” and “condemn” those who are gay, or believe in same-sex marriage.
He says his hope is that Australians would be united as a nation in love, understanding, acceptance and kindness, by putting the heated debate of the past behind them with the passing of this law.