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Assembly votes to confirm rule on sexuality

Media release: For immediate release

Friday 29 September

General Assembly votes to confirm rule on sexuality and leadership

General Assembly, the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand’s top decision-making body, today confirmed its 2004 rule that those involved in a sexual relationship outside marriage, whether gay, lesbian or heterosexual, cannot become ministers or elders.

The rule is not retrospective and only applies to people being assessed for future training or leadership positions. It is not a disciplinary standard and cannot be used to remove a person who is already holding an office.

Moderator the Right Rev Pamela Tankersley says this issue has been addressed by the Church over many years and “we can be satisfied that this decision was reached after thorough and prayerful discussion”.

“Our church has a tradition of robust and open debate, with everyone having input at local and national levels.”

Mrs Tankersley says there are strong feelings on either side of the issue. “We recognise the pain that this decision will cause some in our Church.”

After vigorous and respectful debate, the motion that the church may not accept for training, license, ordain or induct anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman was carried by 230 votes to 124 (65 percent in favour). The decision means the status quo of the past two years continues.


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