Shabnam Dastgheib The Dominion Post/NZ 9 October 2012
Wellington church St Andrew's on the Terrace has gone against its governing body to support same-sex marriage, saying sexual orientation in a relationship is irrelevant.
The same-sex marriage bill passed its first reading in Parliament last month and must now pass two more readings before it can become law. The Presbyterian General Assembly opposes the bill but individual churches can choose their own stance.
Church moderator the Right Rev Ray Coster said the assembly's decision was made last week to uphold the "historic Christian" understanding that "marriage is a faithful, loving union between a man and woman". A small number had registered their dissent. "Registering dissent is an accepted part of Presbyterian process, and is part of our tradition of open and robust debate."
Yesterday, St Andrew's on the Terrace restated its decision to support same-sex marriage and senior minister Margaret Mayman said it would be part of a small minority of churches doing so. The church was looking forward to the passing of the bill which would make it able to perform and bless marriages for all couples, she said. 'We are relieved that the assembly left ministers with the freedom to make decisions about whom they will marry."
Marriage would be strengthened as a cultural and religious institution by involving more couples, she said. What mattered in marriage was love and commitment. 'At the moment we are forced to treat same-sex couples differently." -