Church gives thumbs up for same-sex marriage
Publish date: 05 November 2018
Issue Number: 798
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The Southern Synod (church council) of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (Urcsa) will permit gay marriage, after years of deliberation. In a statement, the church said: ‘If LGBTQI are considered full members, then they need to enjoy the full rights of membership. In 2016, the General Synod took a process decision and referred the matter to the seven regional synods of the Urcsa. Based on that referral from the General Synod, the Southern Synod took the decision on 25 October 2018, to ordain the LGBTIQI members who meet the minimum requirements to become ministers in Urcsa, and to marry them.’ A Cape Times report says in 2005, the General Synod took a decision based on its Church Order (constitution) that the only condition for membership in the Urcsa was to believe in Christ. On this basis the church declared that it needed to embrace, love and take the LGBTQI community as full members. ‘This decision was not an easy one as members had to grapple with the Bible, but later came to a decision. The synod concluded that the Bible and faith are a mystery of God, because God is knowable but incomprehensible.’ The church said the decision led to an emotional and intellectual debate. ‘The Southern Synod decided that homosexual persons are members of Urcsa and must enjoy full rights like marriage and ordination,’ the statement said. The synod also decided to remove the stipulation on polygamy that classified it as ‘heathenism’ as the stipulation was discriminatory.