Same-sex debate not over - Makgoba

2016-10-01 14:43
Thabo Makgoba (Netwerk24)

Thabo Makgoba (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Discussions about the status of same-sex members in the Anglican Church will continue despite a recent vote against the inclusion of certain practices relating to them, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said on Saturday.

"The debate is not over," said Makgoba in a statement following a synod on Friday in Ekhurhuleni during which two proposals were rejected.

"It remains my hope that those on both sides of this debate can overcome their differences."

As part of a debate on the issue of pastoral care for people in same-sex relationships, a motion was put forward that bishops be allowed to license clergy, who identified as LGBTI and are in a same sex civil union, to minister in parishes. Another proposal made was that bishops may "provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same sex civil unions" – although not actually marry them under Church law.

The motions were put forward to the three separate "houses" of the Synod: The bishops, clergy and laity.

Put forward as a "controversial motion", the proposal needed to both obtain a simple majority in each of the three houses – as well as a two-thirds majority overall to pass.

"The motion failed to achieve a simple majority in any House," said Makgoba.

"The bishops voted 16 to six against the motion, the laity 41 to 25 against and the clergy 42 to 34 against," Makgoba said.

The Archbishop added that even after the vote, "The pain on both sides of the debate in synod was palpable and no one celebrated or applauded the outcome".

He said it was also "notable" that a number of those who voted against the motions did not reject them "out of hand" but instead proposed that "our Church was not yet ready for such a move".

Makgoba said that Friday's synod was the first time the issue had been seriously debated by the Church.

"Representatives are free to raise it again at future synods."

The synod held on Friday covered Anglican churches in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and the island of St Helena.

Of these countries, only the South African state allows same-sex civil unions.

"As it was, the degree of support for the motion was quite substantial if you compare us to other African provinces of the Anglican Church, most of which are vigorously opposed to same-sex unions in any form."

Makgoba urged LGBTI members to "stick with us" and contribute to future deliberations on the matter.

Read more on:    thabo makgoba  |  religion  |  gay rights

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