Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE

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 gay cou­ples.

The Pon­sonby church was for­mally founded in 1898 to pro­vide a space for peo­ple whose be­liefs failed to fit or­tho­dox Chris­tian­ity.

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 wel­come 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

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