Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Tribunal dismisses gay complaint

The Human Rights Tribunal dismisses a complaint against Auckland Diocese over its decision not to allow a gay man to enter an ordination process.
• Read the full decision 

Newstalk ZB and Taonga News  |  18 Oct 2013  |  2 Comments  

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.


Glynn Cardy

I read this with a great sense of sadness. The tribunal upheld the Anglican Church’s right to make its own rules, even though those rules discriminate against a minority of its own members, and even though such discrimination is illegal in New Zealand society. .

My sadness is that it sounds in this article that the Church is a club which can make its own rules. No doubt many members of that Church club, and other church clubs, will be rejoicing in this ruling. They like being a club, specially chosen by God. They like not being accountable to society as a whole.

However, the Christianity which I was raised in doesn’t share this understanding. Rather we tried to be a bit of salt, a bit of leaven, a bit of light. We tried to offer, along with many others, some joy and love and hope. We understood the Church to be a symbol that everyone was special, and chosen, and sacred. We didn’t see ourselves as separate from society. Rather we tried to be mutually accountable to each other. Mutual accountability between church and society is still an ideal I would espouse.

To continue down this separate ‘club’ track will in time make Christianity...

dave cramp[ton

Ful decision is here