Stuff co.nz 8 October 2014
A Wellington church says a national directive from its highest body banning ministers from conducting same-sex marriages is appalling and disturbing and it will defy the order.
St Andrew’s on The Terrace opposes the decision by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The General Assembly – which sets the policy and the direction of the church and approves the various regulations – spent the past four days deliberating in Auckland and announced its decision yesterday.
In the eyes of the assembly, it was acceptable for gay and lesbian people to be in the congregation but not to be married by the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Marriage was the loving and faithful union of a man and a woman, the assembly said.
St Andrew’s Parish convener Sonia Groes-Petrie said the ban was disturbing and deeply disappointing.
“We strongly dissent from it,” she said. “The Presbyterian tradition is for ministers to have freedom to make decisions about whom they will marry.
“There is a range of opinions on same-sex marriage within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and today’s decision does not reflect that diversity.”
Interim minister Jim Cunningham said he was appalled by the decision. “We see sexual orientation and gender identity as irrelevant in the celebration of a couple’s union. It is the quality of the relationship, the love and commitment that matters,” he said.