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By JESS LEE
Same-sex marriage: City churches say no but one is taking a different stand
Acceptable: Unitarian Rev Matt Tittle says the church will welcome all same-sex
couples who wish to marry there.
Photo: JASON OXENHAM Disappointed: Despite its billboard St Matthew-in-the-City will not be allowed to
perform same-sex marriages.
Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH
AUCKLAND UNITARIAN CHURCH
ANGLICAN CHURCH ST MATTHEW-IN-THE-CITY
MOST of Auckland's churches say a
resounding no to same-sex marriage
but one Ponsonby church is taking a
stand and saying I do''.
Newly appointed Auckland
Unitarian Church minister Rev Matt
Tittle says he is dismayed to see so
many churches closing their doors to
The Ponsonby church was formally
founded in 1898 to provide a space
for people whose beliefs failed to fit
The Unitarians are historically
progressive and happily perform
same-sex marriages, ordain gay
clergy and welcome all of the gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender
community to their congregations
around the world.
In most faiths these communities
are not given a full spiritual home.
All of these congregations will wel-
come them as members but they're
not going to give them all of the
rights of passage and privileges that
come with that,'' Dr Tittle says.
We recognise everyone -- there are
not some who are saved and those
who are damned to hell.''
Dr Tittle arrived in Auckland from
the United States three months ago
having worked as a minister there
for more than 10 years.
The Unitarian Church will not
hire clergy who refuse to perform
same-sex marriages, he says.
He has officiated at a number of
same-sex weddings in the US, both
those legally recognised by the state
and those which were not.
As a member of the clergy he is
often asked how he can justify
embracing gay marriage based on
what the Bible teaches.
He says the Bible contains no more
than a dozen references to homo-
sexuality in more than 30,000 ver-
And Jesus says absolutely
nothing. But there isn't a page in any
sacred text of any religion that
doesn't mention love, kindness and
Dr Tittle accepts that it will be
hard for other churches to come
around to the idea.
It is a very difficult struggle for
them. We went through this decades
ago when the Unitarians passed a
resolution about gay rights in 1970
and I think that was even too late.''
The Catholic church says no Cath-
olic priests or churches will be
involved in same-sex marriages but
each individual Methodist and Bapt-
ist church is allowed to come to its
Of the central Auckland Methodist
and Baptist churches the Auckland
City Harbour News spoke to none
said they will marry same-sex cou-
Clergy at the progressive Anglican
church St Matthew-in-the-City will
also not be allowed to perform same-
sex marriages until a commission
reports on the issue next year.
St Matthew's Rev Glynn Cardy
says the decision is disappointing.
We would really like to take wed-
dings at the church but we will
encourage couples who want to
marry here to have the formal part
at a registry office and their cere-
View at www.dash-board.co.nz or at any of our newspapers online.
In this Issue..
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