The Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint against the Anglican Diocese of Auckland over its decision not to allow a gay man to enter an ordination process.
Bishop Ross Bay decided not to admit the man to the diocesan discernment programme because he was in an unmarried relationship.
Under current rules, Anglican priests are expected to be single and celibate or in a heterosexual marriage.
The plaintiff, the Gay and Lesbian Clergy Anti-Discrimination Society, claimed the man was discriminated against on the basis of his marital status, and also because he was in a same-sex relationship.
But the tribunal's decision, released today, ruled the Bishop did not breach the Human Rights Act because the church was complying with its own rules which would not allow the man to be ordained.
In a statement, Bishop Bay welcomed the tribunal’s decision.
He said the decision correctly identified the balance between individual human rights and the autonomous nature of the church in a way that ensures freedom of religion.
Bishop Bay expressed appreciation of the careful and respectful way in which tribunal members have undertaken their work.
He said he was conscious of the impact of the issue on people’s lives, and that the Anglican Church has been working to address the issue before the tribunal.
“The church remains committed to that process,” the Bishop added.