Gay minister free to marry partner, SCA hears

2014-08-26 18:41
(Picture, AFP)

(Picture, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bloemfontein - A Methodist Church minister was free to exercise her constitutional right to marry her same-sex partner, given the absence of a clear doctrine on the matter, the Supreme Court of Appeal heard on Tuesday.

"She was entitled to do that," argued Anna-Marie de Vos, for former Methodist minister Ecclesia de Lange.

De Lange was appealing against a high court ruling that she had to take her case against being fired by the church to arbitration, before approaching the high court.

De Lange was charged by the church for proceeding with a same-sex civil union, against its rules and policies.

She submitted that she had not breached the church's policies.

The church contended that such a rule was in place.

The church's disciplinary committee found she was guilty of failing to observe the rules and policies and recommended she be suspended. An internal appeal was unsuccessful and it was decided that she be sacked from the Methodist ministry.

De Lange launched an arbitration process, in terms of the church's disciplinary procedure. Before this process began she filed an application for a review in the high court of the church's decision to fire her.

The high court concluded the application was premature and that De Lange should first seek arbitration.

The appeal in the SCA was against these conclusions.

De Vos argued De Lange turned to the high court because she lost confidence in the arbitration process.

‘Grossly unfair’

De Lange, in papers, submitted it would be grossly unfair to take part in an arbitration process that would be unfair and serve no purpose. She argued there was a "reasonable apprehension" the appointed arbitrator would be biased towards her.

De Lange wanted the SCA to set aside the decision to fire her as minister, because it constituted discrimination based on her sexual orientation.

Wim Trengove, for the Methodist Church, argued the sole question was whether she acted contrary to church policy.

He argued that De Lange's founding affidavit in the high court did not set out facts for a discrimination case.

Trengove argued only an arbitrator could decide on the merits of De Lange's case. This would prevent the court becoming involved in a religious dispute.

In papers before the court the church indicated it only recognised heterosexual marriages. Further, the church indicated the recognition of same-sex marriages had given rise to much debate, and that no decision had yet been taken on the matter.

The SCA reserved judgment.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  religion  |  gay rights

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.