Churches allowed to refuse couple
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
EASTER SUNDAY TRADING
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.
First Union Wellington
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Alexandra Saunders, left, and Sara Rimmer are missing the point when they say Paeka¯ka¯riki’s gay population ‘‘probably outnumbers the congregation’’.