Southern Africa synod considers pastoral response to civil unions

From Anglican Communion News Service:

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has urged its bishops to provide guidelines for giving pastoral care to same-sex couples who have entered civil unions under South African law.

The Church's ruling Provincial Synod, currently meeting in Benoni, South Africa, on Friday adopted a resolution urging its Synod of Bishops to finalise guidelines “as soon as possible”.

The Church neither marries same-sex couples, nor ordains or licenses priests or deacons who live in same-sex unions. This is in line with the practice of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

However, in the words of the Right Revd Martin Breytenbach, Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist, during a debate at the Synod, “civil unions are a reality, whether we like it or not.”

Proposing the resolution, Bishop Breytenbach acknowledged he was on the “conservative” side of the debate. But, he continued, all God's people needed pastoral care and “we have people in our church who are same-gender couples who regard themselves as married, even though I find it difficult to accept.”

Read more.

Comments (6)


1) Better late than never, but

2) with pastoral "friends" like THESE ("whether we like it or not" "even though I find it difficult to accept"), who needs enemies?

Once again, sadly, we see a place where the Church is BADLY lagging behind civil law, in regards to following the Holy Spirit. :-( Kyrie eleison!

JC Fisher

The full story in the Anglican Communion News Service (possibly a direct quote from South Africa) has this disturbing statement: "The Church neither marries same-sex couples, nor ordains or licenses priests or deacons who live in same-sex unions. This is in line with the practice of the worldwide Anglican Communion." Says who?

Brother Tom Hudson

Reading the Sunday NY Times social pages, I find very few church same gender weddings. Most of the officiants are civil officials or E-Mail ministers.

I have a premonition the boat sailed and we missed it.

Civil marriage has been open to same-sex couples in South Africa since 2006, which was the fifth country to do so. We are talking about marriages and not civil unions, even though the act which opened marriage to all couples is called the Civil Union Act.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Wikipedia, "same-sex marriage in South Africa"

Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since the Civil Union Act came into force on 30 November 2006. The decision of the Constitutional Court in the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie on 1 December 2005 extended the common-law definition of marriage to include same-sex spouses—as the Constitution of South Africa guarantees equal protection before the law to all citizens regardless of sexual orientation—and gave Parliament one year to rectify the inequality in the marriage statutes. On 14 November 2006, the National Assembly passed a law allowing same-sex couples to legally marry 230 to 41, which was subsequently approved by the National Council of Provinces on 28 November in a 36 to 11 vote, and the law came into effect two days later.
South Africa was the fifth country, the first in Africa, the first in the southern hemisphere, and the second outside Europe to legalise same-sex marriage.

That may just say more about the type of couples covered by the NYT, Paul.

Don't get me wrong: I believe *most* same-sex couples feel religion has very little to offer them (more and more are secular, even as---too damn slowly!---more and more faith communities are becoming LGBT-affirming). We have a heck of a lot of work to do.

JC Fisher

Well, here's a wedding that the NYT *should* cover! [New York, same-sex, and in an Episcopal church! w/ a gay Marine no less]

Mazel Tov!

JC Fisher

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