The blessing of same-sex marriage in the Anglican Church of New Zealand has just been approved.
Previously, priests were forbidden from offering this kind of blessing. They faced disciplinary action if they disobeyed.
This has all changed thanks something called “Motion 29,” a resolution that recognizes “the Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage [which] is to affirm marriage as between a man and a woman”; but allows priests to offer “a non-formulary service.”
Reacting to the resolution, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon,said, “There has been a long, prayerful process in the province in reaching this point with deeply-held convictions on both sides of the debate. I hope and believe that this resolution recognized that difference without division is possible.”
According to Premier, the Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia voted in favor for priests to be allowed to bless gay civil marriages or civil unions as long as it is not conducted in the church.Opposition to Anglican’s new stance on gay marriage
Jay Behan, the Vicar of St. Stephen’s Shirley in Christchurch, is one of the people who is not happy with this new resolution, according to Christian Today.
He says he can not “live with it.” The vicar added that “This issue has never been for conservatives, about bigotry, or about exclusion, or about hatred. It’s a difference of opinion over how you love.”
Likewise, Anglican News reports the Diocese of Polynesia, which covers Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, is also against this new resolution.
However, the diocese has issued a separate motion saying that it will not be an “obstacle in the journey of Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pakeha [New Zealanders of European descent] towards the blessing of same-gender relations in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
The motion added that the diocese is “deeply mindful of the deep interweaving of cultural and religious values at the core of our Pacific societies that place a profound respect, and reverence for the belief in God and the belief in the traditional understanding of marriage.”
Unlike its New Zealand counterpart, the Church of England is not making any changes anytime soon. In January 2016, Justin Welby, the leader of the Anglican Communion in England, maintained that marriage is between one man and one woman.
However, he apologized to the LBGT community saying, “It’s a constant source of deep sadness that people are persecuted for their sexuality. I want to take this opportunity personally to say how sorry I am for the hurt and pain, in the past and present, that the Church has caused and the love that we at times completely failed to show, and still do, in many parts of the world including in this country.”
Meanwhile, two major Anglican communion churches, the U.S.-based Episcopal Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church, now offer blessings to same-sex couples in addition to changing their definition of marriage to include gay couples.