The Judicial Committee of this Church has been asked to clarify several aspects of a General Synod resolution on same-gender relationships.
Motion 30, passed in May, allows clergy to ‘recognise’ in public worship a same-gender civil union or state marriage of members of their faith community:
(a) with the permission of their licensing bishop; and
(b) with the permission of their vestry or equivalent leadership body.
Such recognition (which can take place now) cannot be marriage or a rite of blessing of a same-gender relationship, the motion adds.
In a statement today, the Archbishops say the applicants are seeking an interpretation of the Constitution/ Te Pouhere as it applies to these questions:
• Is any form of recognition of same-gender relationships in public worship unconstitutional?
• Is any form of blessing of same-gender relationships in public worship unconstitutional?, and
• Is Clause 4 of Motion 30 unconstitutional in whole or part?
Under the canons, the Judicial Committee must give notice of the application to any ‘interested parties’ and invite any written statement on the questions submitted.
This will occur over the next few weeks.
The applicants will then be given copies of any statements and invited to make a written reply. This in turn will be copied to all interested parties.
The Committee will then agree on a process of determination, which may include further meetings and hearings.
The Archbishops will make no further comment on the matter until the Judicial Committee has made its determination.