Preacher fired for being a lesbian loses appeal against church

2014-10-01 10:46

The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a lesbian minister who was fired from the Methodist Church of South Africa after announcing her same-sex marriage from the pulpit.

The court said that churches should have the right to settle internal disputes without the court’s interference, the Cape Times reported today.

Ecclesia de Lange reportedly claimed she had been unfairly dismissed from her ministry because of her sexual orientation, after she told her congregation in December 2009 that she was going to marry her female partner, Sapa reported in June last year.

She was ordained in 2006 and married her partner on 15 December 2009.

She has since divorced the woman and is set to marry again.

The proper respect for freedom of religion meant courts could not pronounce on matters of doctrine, the Cape Times wrote.

But activists have slammed the court’s finding, saying that it sent out a “harmful message”, not only to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex clergy, “but to congregants and community members”.

De Lange says she will study the court’s ruling before deciding her next move.

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