South African Church Latest to Fold on Same-Sex Marriage

The Dutch Reformed Church (NGK) in South Africa has voted to recognize same-sex marriages

The move to allow same-sex marriage in the church should not come as a surprise to observers. In July, the church decided it was time to pursue equal rights for homosexual pastors. The church had been contemplating the change since 2007, when it opened its doors to openly homosexual members and refused to exercise church discipline against them.

 

The Dutch Reformed Church (NGK) in South Africa has voted to recognize same-sex marriages and open the way for homosexual ministers to marry their partners.

Previously, the church had acknowledged that some ministers were, in fact, homosexuals, but it demanded that they remain celibate. In 2006, South Africa became the fifth nation – and the only nation in Africa – to allow same-sex marriage.

According to eNCA (E News Channel Africa), the measure allowing same-sex marriage in the church and the marriage of homosexual ministers passed by a significant majority – 64 percent.

The church’s moderator, Nelis Janse van Rensburg, said the move is historic “because with this decision we actually are at a point where there can be no doubt that the Dutch Reformed Church is serious about human dignity.”

“And you know that we are living in this country where we have so many problems with the dignity of people,” Janse said.

The move to allow same-sex marriage in the church should not come as a surprise to observers. In July, the church decided it was time to pursue equal rights for homosexual pastors. The church had been contemplating the change since 2007, when it opened its doors to openly homosexual members and refused to exercise church discipline against them.

Even though the church’s lead offices are adopting the policy, it has said it will not force individual congregations and ministers to follow it.

“Church councils and congregations are like families,” Janse said. “They will eventually decide that how they will go about it. They know the context, they know the situation, they know about the faith of these people, so they can decide on that.”

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