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Anglican Church paves way for same sex relationships

Media release - Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
Motion 29

The Anglican Church has paved the way for the blessing of same sex relationships.

Church leaders are in New Plymouth this week for their biennial General Synod where a raft of motions covering social issues are being debated. This morning they supported a motion which will allow bishops to authorise blessings of same sex relationships.

The issue of recognising same sex relationships has challenged the church and its three tikanga - Maori, Polynesian and Pakeha for the best part of half a century.

The breakthrough this morning, carried by a strong majority, came after a working group report proposed a solution which would provide bishops with authority to allow or deny Anglican priests in their area to bless same sex relationships.

Anglican churches in Polynesia will all opt out. Working group member Fe'iloakitau Kahi Tevi indicated that in the Pacific such a change would not be acceptable "but our children may have different views."

He also emphasised the strong desire for the church to remain together even if there were different views.

"In our difference we find our strength," he said.

Today the Polynesian strand of the church chose not to veto the motion.

Tikanga Pakeha archbishop Philip Richardson, who yesterday spoke at length of the integrity, sincerity and quality of the debate, said he acknowledged the hurt and sadness the decision would cause some delegates.

But the decision itself was welcomed with applause.

A clause in the successful motion requires a select committee to clean up some aspects of the landmark decision and that is expected to be achieved before the Synod ends today, meaning a final vote can be called to complete the process that implements today's decision.

During debate yesterday it was agreed that a threshold would be established for same sex blessings - couples would be required to be joined in a Civil Union or Civil Marriage.

ends

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