I'd heard yesterday that the Premier had announced a change to civil unions. (For people outside Queensland: civil unions were implemented by the previous government as an alternative to marriage - available for anyone but mostly for people who are gay and don't have the legal option for marriage.) The change announced yesterday, was that civil unions would continue to be legally registered, but there would no longer be a civil ceremony for the unions.
I'd been thinking about the situation overnight, trying to work out the appropriate pastoral response to the matter. I was thinking pastorally - I'm a minister, that's what I'm supposed to do.
What I did this morning was put out a tweet. I put out lots of tweets. They don't normally get retweeted a dozen times and get me an interview on the ABC radio drive show.
What did I say? Just this:
No ceremonies for civil unions? See me for a Christian blessing service.
@theqldpremier has no authority over the church!
All I intended to convey in the few words Twitter allows was that the change in law might affect civil celebrants - but ministers of religion can do a blessing service of pretty much anything we like. I've been asked to bless everything from babies to houses. I see that it's important for some people to feel that they have dedicated all aspects of their lives to God - including their relationships. (After all, that's what brings people to the church for marriage.) I am always willing to pray with people, to help them celebrate the significant points in their lives, and to thank God for those significant points.
So now, in a bit over an hour's time, I've just had a call from the Westside News, and I'm being interviewed on 6.12 ABC local radio's drive show here in Brisbane. I'm a bit stressed. Sure, part of the time I was a journalist I actually worked for ABC regional radio. Back in those days (and they are long ago) I was the person asking the questions. Today I don't get that kind of control.
And I've now started emailing the various levels of the church to confess what I've just blundered into.
And I am very stressed.