Anglican proposal for same-sex marriage blessing in New Zealand

Blessings for same-sex marriages could be permitted in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia if a new proposal is adopted by its General Synod.

After a debate at the Synod in 2014, a working group was established to find a way for opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage to co-exist in the Church, while upholding the traditional doctrine of marriage.

The group has now published its report, A Way Forward.

The report proposes a compromise solution in which dioceses could decide if they wished to opt into offering a blessing in church for couples who had entered into a civil same-sex marriage.

It argues that, because it is offering new liturgies only to bless civil marriages, it does not depart from the traditional doctrine of marriage, which the Church will continue to hold can exist only between a man and a woman.

There was division, however, in the group, which included priests, bishops, and lay members. “While working-group members agree that they have met the brief given, they were not and are not of one mind on many issues.

Their manner of proceeding in unity without unanimity was at times arduous,” the report states.

The proposals are described as a pastoral accommodation of the Church’s unchanged doctrine of marriage, similar to the way those who are not baptised, or who are divorced and whose former spouse is still alive, are now also allowed to marry in church.

If the Synod, which is due to meet in May, approves the report, the first blessings for same-sex marriages could take place in 2018.

The liturgy portion of the package would require the majority of diocesan synods to vote for the changes, and a two-thirds majority in each House of the General Synod.


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News category: New Zealand.

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