South Africa: Anglican bishops declare gay‚ lesbian couples 'full members' of the church

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said new guidelines from bishops which oppose gay congregants being stigmatised and which facilitate the baptisms of children from same-sex unions‚ are “an important first step” towards acceptance of the lesbian‚ gay and transsexual community in Southern Africa.


This comes as Anglican bishops from across southern Africa have resolved that gay and lesbian partners who enter same-sex civil unions under South African law should be welcomed into congregations as full members of the church. Archbishop Makgoba acknowledged that southern Africa’s bishops were divided over whether to marry same-sex couples in church‚ or to allow clergy to enter same-sex civil unions. As a consequence they would continue to be bound by the broad consensus in the Anglican Communion‚ which is that the church can neither bless same-sex unions nor permit its clergy to enter them.


He said the differences among the bishops were both over the theology of marriage and a result of realities on the ground in different dioceses. “For example‚ most of our dioceses across Southern Africa are predominantly rural‚ and for many the urgent priorities of food security‚ shelter‚ health care and education crowd out debate on the issue of human sexuality. In some rural dioceses‚ responding to challenges to the Church’s restrictions on polygamous marriages is a much higher pastoral priority.” Read more via Sowetan live