More than five hundred religious leaders have sent an open letter to the Prime Minister and the Government in Australia in support of marriage equality as a matter of social justice and calling for it to be resolved by a vote in the parliament as the Liberal Party of Australia convenes this afternoon to discuss marriage equality.

Australian Marriage Equality campaign director Tiernan Brady says the movement is about civil marriage and will have no impact on anyone’s faith, religious institution or sacrament.

“Yesterday’s release of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 allows civil marriage equality to now become a reality whilst continuing to provide religious freedoms. We strongly welcome this Bill as the way forward,” Brady said.

“These religious leaders support civil marriage equality because of their faith and values, not despite it. Their letter reflects the will of the majority of people of faith in Australia who want marriage equality to happen

“They support a change to the legal definition of civil marriage to include all Australians and they urge others of faith to stand up for civil marriage equality as a matter of social justice.

“Like the majority of Australians, they have called on all politicians to show leadership and unite the nation by making civil marriage equality a reality for every Australian,” Brady concluded.

The largest number of signatories came from the Uniting Church in Australia (22%), Anglican Church of Australia (18%) and Australian Catholics Church (13%). The leaders have signed alongside religious leaders from Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu communities.

“Marriage equality will provide access to marriage to those who yearn for it, and won’t stop people of faith from framing their lives around their beliefs, Anglican Parish of Darlington Bellevue’s Reverend Chris Bedding said.

“Marriage requires constant generosity and sacrifice for another person. I value marriage so highly that I want all couples to be able to experience the level of love that marriage demands.”

Adelaide Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky of Beit Shalom Synagogue said they signed the petition because they believe that all human beings are created in God’s image and so are entitled to the same legal rights.

“It is my privilege to know people in same-sex relationships whose commitment to one another is just as deep and lasting as those in heterosexual relationships,” Rabbi Kaminsky said.

“Marriage equality is a basic human right, Islam is a religion that promotes all human rights not some human rights. It will help a lot of young people gain confidence because they are in an environment that says to them that they are wrong and impure, marriage equality will help a lot in the LGBT Muslim community gain confidence,” added Imam Nur Warsame of Marhaba, Melbourne

The Liberal Party are expected to meet this afternoon at 4 pm EST to discuss how to move forward on the issue.