The marriage ‘split’

NZ Herald 19 Jan 2013
…..The bill has sparked an emotional outpouring – 20,000 submissions, including about 18,000 form letters. Out of 1790 substantial submissions posted online by this week, 769 support the bill and 1017 oppose it (a handful are ambiguous).

Only 14 out of 66 submissions from clerics and religious organisations supporting the bill, while the 52 against include the national leaders of the Catholics, Presbyterians, Seventh Day Adventists, Salvation Army, Wesleyans and several Pacific churches.

In Ms Wall’s Manurewa electorate, Pastor Stephen Miller says a letter opposing the bill from the Manukau Ministers Network was signed by all 25 ministers. No one refused.

Even among those who stayed in the Methodist Church after the 1990s split, there is no pro-gay consensus. Dr Thompson says the bill was not raised at the last Methodist conference in November because “there is still so much diversity of opinion that we wouldn’t have come out for or against”.

The Presbyterians did vote on it at their assembly in October, where 77 per cent voted against the bill and almost 60 per cent voted to ban ministers from conducting same-sex marriages. But this second vote fell short of the threshold to become church law, so ministers will be free to marry gay couples if the bill passes.

The Anglican Church has set up a commission, headed by former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand, to develop options on the ordination and blessing of people in same-sex relationships.

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