Category Archives: News


Uniting Network, the LGBTIQ network within the Uniting Church in Australia expresses its concern around the commentary attributed to Australia’s Prime Minister Morrison concerning the release earlier this week by Cricket Australia of its policy for transgender athletes local to elite levels.

Co-convenor Hannah Reeve commented that “the Prime Minister, since coming to office, has made some negative comments concerning transgender people, a community who have some of the highest suicide rates in our society.”

Hannah further commented, “Uniting Network welcomed the policy position of Cricket Australia as a fair and balanced approach to ensure the inclusion of transgender people in their sporting code.”

Secretary of Uniting Network, Jason Masters, added “We know from the global sporting study “Out on the Field”[i] that LGBTIQ people leave sport due to the way they perceive being treated as an LGBTIQ sportsperson.  Eighty percent of the Australian study participants stated experiencing or witnessing homophobia in sport. We also know that one of the mechanisms to improve people’s mental health is engaging in sporting activities. On the one hand, the Prime Minister is very concerned, appropriately, around mental health issues across Australia, and we are thankful the Prime Minister in his election promised to increase funding for LGBTIQ mental health services. It is disappointing that the Prime Minister on the other hand is effectively adding to the mental health issues of transgender people by making, what we at Uniting Network believe, are not fully informed and inappropriate comments.”

Jason Masters stated that “Cricket Australia is not the trailblazer in this space, and many other sporting codes already have transgender inclusion policies with sports as an example as Volleyball Australia having policies for addressing transgender people at elite levels dating before 2012[ii]

Jason Masters concluded “part of our disappointment is that earlier this year the Australian Human Rights Commission, Sports Australia and The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports issued the “Guidelines for Inclusions of transgender and Gender Diverse People in Sport”. I call on Mr Morrison to be aware of where the sporting sector is moving in this area, and more generally around the inclusion of transgender people in all aspects of our society.”

Finally, Hannah stated “As a community of Christian LGBTIQ people we call on all to be respectful and inclusive of transgender people. We would be delighted to meet with the Prime Minister to further discuss our concerns with him.”

Download a PDF copy of this statement here.



Media Release | Open and Affirming resources launched at Synod meeting

A suite of 15 new resources have been launched with the aim of supporting Uniting Church congregations which seek to fully affirm LGBTIQ people, same-sex couples and families.

“Uniting Network is proud to have produced a comprehensive series of resources on LGBTIQ related topics to assist congregations and faith communities who are looking to explore what it means to be inclusive and affirming,” announced National Co-Convenor, Hannah Reeve.

“The resources address issues such as coming out, gender diversity, rainbow families, language, marriage and queer young people. These are important pastoral and justice issues for church members,” stated Ms Reeve.

The series also contains guidelines for becoming an Open and Affirming congregation, an overview of current Uniting Church policies and a discussion of human sexuality and the Bible.

Ms Reeve thanked and congratulated the Rev Dr Rod Pattenden who co-ordinated the series, with the support of a team based in Newcastle which included the LGBTI Project Officer with Uniting NSW/ACT, Claire Allen.  “The team have done a superb job in covering a diverse range of topics, in leaflets which are concise, readable and relevant at this time for our church and beyond.”

The Open and Affirming resources are available at or by request to

Contact Hannah Reeve, 0438 386 383

Uniting Network Australia express great relief that marriage will continue to be available for LGBTIQ people within the Uniting Church

Uniting Network Australia expresses great relief that the July 2018 decision of the National Assembly of Uniting Church to allow Ministers and local churches to choose whether to conduct or host weddings under the 1997 definition (“man and woman”) or under an additional definition (“two people”) remains in place as Clause 39(b) of the Constitution will not be invoked.

We are thankful to the people of the Presbytery & Synod of South Australia for their wisdom and discernment at yesterday’s meeting not to invoke this clause, meaning the necessary threshold to halt the decision cannot be reached by the 6-month deadline.

This relief is tempered by the anxiety this whole process has caused. With the postal survey last year, local pre-Assembly discussions and the inquiry into religious freedom, the LGBTIQ community has continued to be under the microscope especially by other Christians over the last 18 months. This builds on 6 years of consultation across the whole church on the topic of marriage and the previous 30+ years of regular debates about our place within the church and its leadership. There is a cumulative effect with all of this that continues to impact the mental and spiritual health of people and even the most resilient have felt the strain.

According to Co-convenors Hannah Reeve and Peter Weeks: “A lot of people are feeling tired and broken in our church right now, especially those who are LGBTIQ and as leaders within Uniting Network we continue to hear stories of profound pain and angst. These ongoing discussions are not an inconvenience or a purely theological debate to us – this is about our relationships and our families and it has continued to hurt deeply.”

We call on the Church as a whole to now enter into a period of healing as we move forward together in our journey towards reconciliation of all people. We ask that the Church also publicly acknowledge the human impact of these processes and reflect on how this can be better handled in the future.

“The church should be a place where everyone can be fully themselves and honest, wherever they are at in their story,” Ms Reeve and Rev Weeks said. “We look forward to ministers and couples continuing to use the additional ‘two people’ marriage liturgy and are relieved that weddings can continue to go ahead as planned.”

We assure the President and General Secretary of our continued prayers for them and other UCA leaders as they lead the Church on this journey.

For further information contact the Co-convenors:
Hannah Reeve (0438 386 383)
Rev Peter Weeks (0416 176 349)

Uniting Network Australia calls for action to end formal and informal LGBT Conversion Therapy

Uniting Network, the LGBTIQ network within the Uniting Church of Australia is not surprised by the horrendous impact on members of the LGBT community reported in the study released this week entitled, “Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice – Responding to LGBT conversion therapy in Australia”.  

The report highlights the individuals interviewed:

“knew from an early age, that they were same-sex attracted or transgender;
Faith and service to their respective faith communities was at the centre of their lives during the period they were subject to gay conversion and related therapies;
Each person carries deep grief, and, in some cases anger, over being told they were ‘broken’ and needed fixing; and
All have experienced a profound sense of loss at the lives they had taken away from them.”

We endorse the recommendations issued with the study’s report and call on all levels of government in Australia as a priority to:

Prohibit both professionals and other peoplefrom processes that aim to change, suppress, cure, heal or repair a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  Any person breaching such a prohibition should be subject to significant criminal charges and if they are being arrested for drug crimes, it is important for them to hire attorneys. By hiring such expert attorneys, there is a possibility of having your criminal record sealed which is very crucial if you want to have a bright future.
Provide urgent funding for support programs to support people still dealing with significant mental health and family issues resulting from ‘conversion therapy’ that can be arranged by the probation violation attorneys for the victim.
Add clauses to Commonwealth Government Chaplaincy funding agreements prohibitingany attempt to change a school student’s sexual orientation or gender identity either directly or by referral and establish training programs that all such chaplains must complete on the potential harm to children through such conversion therapies’ and failure to validate their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Make Counsellors a protected title under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, requiring Counsellors (who also has support from the Criminal Defense Lawyers practicing Casper) to be registered with an appropriate oversight body established in association with APHRA and in NSW HCCC/HPCA.  A code of practice should state that providing LGBT conversion therapy and not supporting a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is a breach of professional standards.

Further, and outside of the report, we call on all religious organisations to denounce the “call to celibacy” for LGBT people, which is another form of abuse being instituted by some religious organisations as they have realised the unacceptability of “conversion therapy”.

Finally, we call on all religious organisations in Australia to explicitly state their rejection of LGBT conversion therapy, and any statements along the lines that LGBTQ people are disordered, broken or otherwise not whole individuals.  It is our view that involvements in activities such as ‘conversion therapy’ and these types of statements fail upholdthe fundamental premise and hope provided by Jesus Christ, who calls all of us to “Love God and to Love one another”, with no exceptions.

For further information contact:

Jason Masters on 0407780110 or

Uniting Network Australia rejects calls for additional discrimination and call for removal of all discrimination against LGBTIQ people in Australia

Uniting Network, the LGBTIQ network within the Uniting Church of Australia expresses is concern that the full content of the Ruddock Review has not been made public.  Elements were leaked, and Uniting Network provided a position statement on discrimination of LGBTIQ Students and Teachers in educational institutions on 10 October 2018.

Subsequently, further information has been leaked primarily the recommendations.

In response to the general public’s significant disquiet that private and religious schools can discriminate against LGBTIQ students, while the process has been unsettling, we applaud the Prime Minister’s move to eliminate discrimination against LGBTIQ students in all schools.  We call on all State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers to urgently follow the lead of the Federal Government an urgently remove any legislative provisions that allow for schools in their area of legislative control discrimination of LGBTIQ Students in schools.

However, we further request that all legislators in Australia also revoke the discrimination of LGBTIQ in all situations.  To this we call on the Federal, State and Territory Governments to:

Removed all discrimination against LGBTIQ students in all school environments;
Remove all discrimination against LGBTIQ teachers and staff in all school environments, including but not limited to hiring and ongoing employment, except in positions where the employee is responsible for teaching the religion or undertaking the role of a religious leader;
Remove all discrimination against LGBTIQ patients and clients in all hospitals, age care facilities and nursing homes;
Remove all discrimination against LGBTIQ staff in all hospitals, age care facilities and nursing homes; and
Undertake a full review with the objective of removing all legislation and regulations that provide opportunities for discrimination against LGBTIQ people, outside of specific religious roles.


We acknowledge the Federal Government’s announcement for significant ongoing funding for Headspace, who provide mental health services for youth and young adults.  We call on all governments to continue and grow mental health funding for the LGBTIQ community who suffer significantly higher rates of suicide attempts and mental health issues than the national average.  To fully address LGBTIQ mental health, this will require effective programs to support anti-bullying of LGBTIQ children in schools and effective age appropriate sex education which encompasses all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity to be delivered in all schools irrespective of the school sector.

For further information contact:

Jason Masters on 0407780110 or

Read more here, including our interim responses to the Ruddock Review recommendations…

Uniting Network Australia rejects calls for additional discrimination on LGBTIQ students and teachers

Uniting Network, the LGBTIQ network within the Uniting Church of Australia expresses its concern around the potential to allow religious schools to exclude LGBTIQ children from schools, under the guise of religious freedom or ongoing unnecessary religious privilege (SMH report 10 October 2018).

Uniting Network rejects the need for Federal Government action on discrimination of LGBTIQ children (and any person) within any education system. We call on State Governments to wind back discrimination measures already in place at the state level impacting LGBTIQ staff and students.

Children during their schooling (from primary and high school) come to understand their sexuality, sexual orientation and gender. To permit an already vulnerable young person to be thrown out of a religious school as they become aware of their identity is not in the best interest of children and is likely to add to the already unacceptably high rates of depression, self-harm and suicide of young LGBTIQ people.

Further, we express our concern that all schools should have some relationship to representing the broader Australian society. If religious schools are permitted to exclude LGBTIQ children from their schools, around one third of Australians will continue not to have any natural connection with LGBTIQ people, potentially ingraining homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Australian society indefinitely.

We also see no rational or religious reason to discriminate against LGBTIQ staff in religious schools except in the limited case of school chaplains and teachers for the specific religious teaching. There is no justification for the exclusion of LGBTIQ teachers in core curriculum areas such as Maths, Science, English or support staff and school caretakers.

The breaking of this news comes at the same time as the Federal Government is seeking the Productivity Commission to review Mental Health programs in Australia, when the LGBTIQ people suffer a significantly higher rate of mental health issues, leading to dramatically higher self-harm and suicide rates than the general population. On the one hand, the Federal Government is seeking to improve mental health outcomes, and on the other proposes to implement policies that will continue to create mental health issues within the LGBTIQ community and in particular younger LGBTIQ people.

In our Christian context, Jesus gave two underpinning commandments, to Love God, and to Love One Another. This proposed action is providing religious, and in our context Christian schools, to disobey Jesus’ clear objective, as this form of discrimination shows that those schools will not love one another.

For further information contact:
Jason Masters on 0407780110 or

Uniting Network Australia welcomes the decision of the 15th Assembly to allow the marriage of two people in the witness and life of its church

On Friday night 13th July, the National Assembly of the Uniting Church resolved to allow Ministers freedom to choose to conduct the weddings of any two people under a new definition of marriage which is to be held equally with the current definition of marriage and reflects the diversity of belief on this issue within the Uniting Church.

“Today I celebrate that the Uniting Church has a statement that affirms that marriage is for two people and there is now a place that myself and my LGBTIQ siblings can be married and have their existing marriages recognised as equal to that of others in our church.” says Hannah Reeve Co-convenor of the Uniting Church’s LGBTIQ and Ally Network.

Co-convenor Peter Weeks added, “As a Minister in the Uniting Church this now means not only can I marry my partner in the Church, but I can also legally celebrate the weddings of LGBTIQ couples who wish to have a Uniting Church wedding.”

Unfortunately, the Uniting Church was not ready to move to one inclusive statement on marriage which was the hope of Uniting Network members. We do however acknowledge that across the church there is a diversity of beliefs in regards to marriage and some parts of our church wish to hold their current understanding.

This is one step further towards full equality within our church and we will continue to advocate for LGBTIQ people, couples and rainbow families as we journey together.

Uniting Network Australia reminds members of the UCA and wider community that 3 years ago the 14th Assembly affirmed that the Uniting Church seeks to be an inclusive church that embraces LGBTIQ people as full members of our church community.

In her media release, the President of the Assembly Dr Deidre Palmer acknowledged the ministry and struggle of LGBTIQ people and how painful and difficult this conversation has been for LGBTIQ members of the church.

A proposal regarding setting up a consultative process to look at a formal apology from the UCA to the LGBTIQ community has been referred to the Assembly Standing Committee for consideration. Uniting Network will be urging the Standing Committee to support the three-year process leading to decisions at the 2021 Assembly.

For more information, see official Uniting Church links:

For further information contact us.