Two Presbyterian clergymen charged for marrying gay couples

2015-11-15 15:20


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Johannesburg - Two Presbyterian clergymen appeared before a church tribunal in Johannesburg last week on charges of misconduct after they officiated over four same sex unions, the Sunday Times reported.

“As far as I am concerned they are charging the wrong people,” Hansie Wolmarans, a professor of theology at the University of Johannesburg, told the newspaper.

“Homosexuality cannot be harmful or a sin.”

Wolmarans, along with Reverend Martin ‘Chunky’ Young, appeared on Monday at the Parktown offices of the Church’s provincial ruling body, the eGoli Presbytery.

A complaint by a minister in Cape Town was laid against Wolmarans and Young, after they presided over the four same sex unions.

Presbyterian Church ministers may not register for a civil union licence. However, Wolmarans, who holds such a licence, would perform the legal requirements of the marriages, while Young would “bless” the union.

In their heads of argument, the two men argued that the church’s current rules contravene South African law that allows for same sex marriages.

The church’s provincial and national bodies declined to comment to the newspaper as the outcome of the hearings has not been finalised.

Dutch Reform Church's decision postponed

Meanwhile, this weekend, Rapport newspaper said that the Dutch Reform Church’s majority decision – to allow gay people to marry in the church and for gay ministers to be ordained, without having to be celibate – has been postponed on appeal.

According to the newspaper, some of the church leaders who originally voted in favour of the changes, have now changed their minds.

The church’s leadership will meet again next week where the issue will be discussed.

Nelis van Rensburg, the DRC's moderator said that he hoped the next discussions over the matter would be done so in a “spirit of love”.

He told News24 last week that the DRC was a “movement for all people...

“We are expanding our walls to make room for more people.”

The East Griqualand Fever reported last week that the Dutch Reformed Church in Kokstad stated its disagreement with the decision taken by the church’s general synod.

“We do not hate people, we love all people and we cannot reject people, but it cannot be that ministers and reverends, who are supposed to lead people to God, are allowed to practice what the Bible regards as sin.” Reverend Petrus Fouché was quoted as saying.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  religion  |  gay rights

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