On the eve of the Government’s scheduled report on gay marriage, ex-Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes has criticised The Salvation Army for their homophobic stance.
News Ltd reports that the gay pop star tweeted to 60,000+ followers about the Salvation Army’s stance on gay marriage, pointing out the the charity group’s views on homosexuality were ‘sad’, saying:
Important for gay people to know the true position of the salvation army when considering who to donate to. Sad. bit.ly/uhdf9w
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) June 14, 2012
Hayes later compared the position of the Salvation Army’s ‘Human Sexuality statement to the absurdity of asking people to change their eye colour.
The Salvos’ statement, available online, states that marriage is “the family unit – father, mother and children” and “in spite of change lifestyles and values… is still the ideal social institution in contemporary Australian life.”
Under a section titled ‘Homosexuality’, the charity writes “It is The Salvation Army’s belief that, whilst recognising the possibility of such orientation, (the origins of which are uncertain), the Bible expressly opposes homosexual practice, seeing such activity as rebellion against God’s plan for the created order.”
News Ltd points out that the Salvation Army responded to Hayes’ criticisms by emphasising that they helped Australia’s mos marginalised, including gay and transgender people regardless of their own beliefs.
Additionally, Salvation Army spokesman Major Bruce Harmer speaking to News Ltd, reinforced the organisation’s position that homosexuality was “unacceptable” to God according to the Bible, and that it should be “restrained” with willpower.
He also stated, “The Salvation Army would suggest a more appropriate measure for people to use is to look at how an organisation treats and deals with members of the community who are marginalised, vulnerable, experiencing disadvantage or oppression.”
“On that measure,” says Major Harmer, “The Salvation Army is one of the most compassionate and non-discriminatory in the way it works with people who are marginalised in our community, including many who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.” He also added that gay people could be accepted into the church on a vow of celibacy, attaining positions as officers if they promised to remain unmarried homosexuals.
Hayes, though famously private, came out publicly in 2006 when he married, via a civil partnership, his designer boyfriend of two years, Richard Cullen. Though currently enjoying a career as a solo pop star, he has most recently been seen as a mentor on television’s The Voice. His public tweet critiquing the openly Christian organisation has already been described by the media as a ‘boycott’.
In another tweet made earlier this morning, Hayes has called for an attempt to clarify his comments:
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Although I, like many, think salvation army comments on sexuality are harmful to equality I did not call for a ‘boycott’. Not true.
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) June 17, 2012