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Green MP against church HR exemption

Sun 26 Sep 2004 In: New Zealand Daily News

An human rights legislation exemption allowing churches to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation is to be challenged following moves by the Presbyterian Church to ban future leaders who are in homosexual or de facto relationships. Presbyterian Assembly member Rev Brian Turner says the decision victimises gay and lesbian members of the Church and believes it is important to address the legislation which allowed this to happen. "I felt that my faith was infringed upon. I'm firmly heterosexual myself, but I recognise the right of others of different sexual persuasion... to categorise this as sinful, evil and something to be stamped-out is a basic denial of natural justice, let alone gospel standard," he says. Green Party co-leader Rod Donald has agreed to co-sponsor a private members bill, should a law change be required. Donald, a non-practising Presbyterian, said the Presbyterian General Assembly vote was "more the domain of the fundamentalists. I was absolutely horrified because I know a lot of liberal people active in the Church, those who would find it hard to be a part of the denomination. People must be feeling that their church has deserted them." Gay Christchurch Central MP Tim Barnett says last week's vote sent a message of intolerance to the wider gay and lesbian community. Wellington's Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, a lesbian, says the "inconsistent and unloving" decision was only passed by a slight margin, and hoped it will be overturned next year when it goes before the General Assembly for a final decision.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Sunday, 26th September 2004 - 12:00pm

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