Hotel cancels Christian gathering over gay marriage discussion

As the same-sex marriage postal survey in Australia came to a close, a hotel in Chippendale, New South Wales, canceled the monthly gathering of a Christian group at its beer garden after patrons complained that gay marriage was among the topics to be discussed.

(REUTERS / David Gray)A pedestrian walks near a poster attached to a light pole supporting a 'Yes' vote in a non-binding poll, conducted by post, to inform the government on whether voters want Australia to become the 25th nation to permit same-sex marriage, in the Sydney suburb of Newtown in Australia, October 4, 2016.

The group Theology on Tap was supposed to meet at The Rose Hotel on Nov. 5 for its event titled "Listening as a Form of Love." However, organizer Natalie Ambrose got an email on Nov. 3 from the hotel's licensee, George Kanellos, that told her that they could no longer gather at the beer garden due to an ongoing debate on same-sex marriage, The Daily Telegraph relayed.

"I'm terribly sorry to inform you that we can no longer let you host your event with us in the beer garden," Kanellos told Ambrose in the email. "We've experienced some backlash from customers, and within these complaints they have threatened not to return if these events continue ... I was told by staff yesterday that worked the previous event that 4 different groups of people got up and left and, out of the two groups, we were told that they might not ever come back."

Around 200 to 300 people attend Theology on Tap's meetings every first Monday of the month. When contacted, Kanellos confirmed that the regular gathering at the hotel had already been canceled.

Meanwhile, as of the final update, 12.6 million Australians were able to turn in their votes on the same-sex marriage survey. The cutoff time for the votes was on Nov. 7.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics pegged the return rate of the postal survey at 78.5 percent. It will be announcing the results on Nov. 15 via the marriage survey website.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said same-sex marriage could be legalized at the end of the year if the "yes" vote wins.