Presbyterians asked to preserve unity by banning gay weddings

The head of New Zealand’s third-largest church has asked its ministers to consider a temporary ban on gay weddings to preserve the church’s “peace and unity”.

The call from Presbyterian Church Moderator Ray Coster comes as all the country’s biggest Protestant churches remain divided over how to respond to the legalisation of gay weddings, which comes into force on Monday.

A 75 per cent majority at the last Presbyterian General Assembly in October voted to uphold marriage as “the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman”,

But the assembly did not pass another resolution that would have prohibited ministers from marrying same-sex couples. That motion failed by one vote to get the 60 per cent majority required to become church law.

Several ministers, including lesbian Presbyterian minister Margaret Mayman at Wellington’s St Andrew’s on the Terrace, are already taking bookings for gay weddings.

But the conservative Presbyterian Affirm movement is challenging a legal opinion by a church advisory committee that ministers can choose whether to perform a same-sex marriage.



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