Gay community deserves more from church than reluctant 'acceptance' and liberals will not wait forever.

The Anglican Church of New Zealand has instigated a move to allow clergy and parishes to opt into giving non-marriage "blessings" to same-sex couples.

Congratulations. By 2018 the church will finally have caught up to where the law of the land was with the passing of the Civil Union Act, in 2004.

As a young Anglican, I am not rejoicing at this news. It is progress, but it is not enough.

To any outsider, it is a joke that the church is prepared to listen to the anti-gay lobby, and that members are having to resolve their "theological difficulties" with homosexuality.


As much of a cliche as it is (with good reason), does the church still have theological difficulties with the eating of shellfish, working on the Sabbath, or women speaking in church? There is only one appropriate option: to fast-track full marriage equality.

I view this issue from a perspective granted to few others in that my parents, both Anglicans from a young age, separated when I was 14, because my Dad is gay.

I am only here because of the naive attitude towards homosexuality my Dad experienced within evangelical Anglicanism when he was my age. There was simply no such thing as being gay.

Gradually, gay people became third-class Christians - "accepted" by the church (what a condescending notion that is), but were not allowed to have their relationships blessed in any way.

The latest motion agreed to by General Synod at its recent meeting in Waitangi, will see the LGBT community promoted to second-class.

It is often said that "change happens slowly in the church". The latest change is nothing but a tool of procrastination and a result of our obsession with compromise and not hurting anyone's feelings, an insipid step taken to pacify the liberal part of the congregation. Don't you think that after our history it is time to recognise this 10 per cent of the population as the equals they are?

Giving the conservative branch of the church an opt-out clause from blessing same-sex relationships is nothing less than tacit homophobia. It will perpetuate that harmful environment in which my father grew up. Young gay people will be reminded of their inadequacy. They will remain in the closet for fear of how their church community will receive them. They will, with the best of intentions, marry someone of the opposite sex, and the church will be none the wiser as to the inauthenticity of the relationship. It will not end well.

Do you wish for this to continue in your church? This is not a hypothetical case. It is about real people and their lives.


To those Anglicans who seek to maintain the "traditional" view of marriage, I say unreservedly and unapologetically that you are wrong, you are immoral, and you are betraying Jesus.

Every religion and every society throughout history has had its own version of marriage.

You do not own it, and have no right to claim to. It was not so long ago that women were chattels, but thankfully we move on.

Love thy neighbour, judge not lest thee be judged, God is love. Grow up.

If anyone of my generation is told by another person that they are gay, their response is likely to be something along the lines of: "Okay" what's your favourite sort of pizza?"

It has been stated that both positions on this issue are theologically defensible. Run these detestable words through your head: homophobia is theologically defensible. What sort of person are you if you are happy to promulgate this view?

As the inimitable Sam Harris points out, the Bible also condones slavery.

And in response to the old chestnut that "marriage is about reproduction", how are you going to apply that to heterosexual couples who are too old to, otherwise unable to, or do not intend to have children?

As a progressive member of 21st century civil society, my patience has limits.

There will come a point where I will no longer be prepared to associate with an archaic organisation that stands against same-sex marriage, and I will leave on principle and out of pride.

To identify as an Anglican Christian will become increasingly shameful, and rightly so.

The leaders of our church must be mindful that it is not only a backlash from conservatives of which they need to beware.

I, and many like me, will not be forced to tolerate other people's intolerance, and will not stay silent within an organisation that normalises and enshrines bigotry and hypocrisy.

Please put your own house in order, and soon.

Simon Cross, aged 20, is a lifelong Anglican and law and politics student at Victoria University.