Churches al­lowed to refuse cou­ple

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

May I com­ment on your Ka¯piti Ob­server fea­ture ‘‘Churches refuse to marry cou­ple’’ on the 28th Septem­ber is­sue.

They were a same-sex cou­ple and had been re­fused a church wed­ding ‘‘in a vil­lage where the gay pop­u­la­tion prob­a­bly out­num­bers the con­gre­ga­tion’’ the cou­ple are re­ported as say­ing.

But this is not the point. The point is best ex­pressed by the spokes­woman for the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion who stated: ‘‘Un­der law, peo­ple get­ting mar­ried could not de­mand a cel­e­brant or clergy mem­ber con­duct their ser­vice. Min­is­ters were not obliged to per­form a mar­riage if it con­tra­vened the be­liefs of their re­li­gious body.’’

As a re­tired min­is­ter who has served three church de­nom­i­na­tions, and gained three dif­fer­ent or­di­na­tion pa­pers, I think I can com­ment on church view­points in gen­eral.

The Angli­cans, of whom Alexan­dra Saun­ders has been a life­long mem­ber, pro­duced a 2014 re­port in which two po­si­tions are sug­gested: 1. That the Angli­can Church be able to bless same-sex cou­ples. 2. That mar­riage be be­tween a man and a woman.

That 2014 re­port will be looked at in 2018.

It is a re­port that seeks a com­pro­mise and for this rea­son may not suc­ceed in its aim to keep the Angli­can Church uni­fied.

The Catholic Church presently holds that mar­riage is be­tween a man and a woman. Pope Fran­cis may have seemed will­ing to wel­come LGBT peo­ple, but in an in­ter­view for the Ital­ian news­pa­per Cor­riere della Sera (March 15, 2014) he re­peated the church’s po­si­tion as one man and one woman.

Evan­gel­i­cal churches such as Bap­tist, Pen­te­costal, and many in­di­vid­ual churches have made the de­ci­sion that their clergy will not marry same-sex cou­ples.

It was in­ter­est­ing that the Ka¯piti Unit­ing Par­ish’s min­is­ter, the Rev Cor­nelia Grant, who is will­ing to of­fi­ci­ate for the Saun­ders-Rim­mer wed­ding is quoted as say­ing ‘‘but I was not aware of the very deep feel­ings of the peo­ple’’ who did not feel ‘‘100 per­cent happy’’ about the wed­ding.

Rev Dr Brian Hooper



The coun­cil’s draft pol­icy on Easter Sun­day trad­ing states that re­tail­ers would be able to choose whether to open, and retail work­ers would be able to choose whether to work on Easter Sun­day.

But we know from years of ex­pe­ri­ence rep­re­sent­ing retail work­ers in New Zealand (in­clud­ing many in Ka¯piti) that it isn’t that sim­ple.

There are con­se­quences for say­ing no - from a per­son’s hours be­ing cut, to the per­son on a 90 day trial be­ing let go, to the un­pleas­ant comments about ‘‘let­ting the team down’’ which work­ers would face for choos­ing to spend Easter Sun­day with fam­ily rather than at work.

And for re­tail­ers the choice is not a real one ei­ther. Open­ing at Easter is not some­thing that smaller re­tail­ers nec­es­sar­ily want, but if the shop next door is open they will feel obliged to open too. Also shop­ping malls gen­er­ally re­quire shops to open when the mall is open as part of the lease agree­ment.

I note that the KCDC Long Term Plan states that ‘‘We pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for the com­mu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in ac­tiv­i­ties and events that en­cour­age com­mu­nity re­silience.’’

Cur­rently Easter Sun­day is one of only three and a half days a year that work­ing peo­ple in retail can count on as a day off to at­tend such events, or to spend time with their fam­ily or friends, or to at­tend church – we’re hop­ing coun­cil­lors agree this is worth pro­tect­ing not re­duc­ing.

Richie Mor­ris

First Union Welling­ton


Do you feel strongly about an is­sue in your com­mu­nity or have some­thing to say about our city? Con­tact us at editor@kapi­tiob­ or via Neigh­bourly. Please in­clude your full name, ad­dress and con­tact num­ber. No anony­mous let­ters will be ac­cepted. Let­ters are pub­lished at the editor’s dis­cre­tion.


Alexan­dra Saun­ders, left, and Sara Rim­mer are miss­ing the point when they say Paeka¯ka¯riki’s gay pop­u­la­tion ‘‘prob­a­bly out­num­bers the con­gre­ga­tion’’.

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