"Gay and lesbian relationships are against our traditions and also God's teaching," says the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, who has now banned gays and lesbians from becoming active members. Pastor Jack Urame, chairman of the synod Theological Committee, told Papua New Guinea's Post Courier newspaper that gays and lesbians can still attend church services but they won't allowed to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist. He added that same-sex marriages would not be recognised in the church. With a membership of 1.2 million, 20% of the population of Papua New Guinea belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Some delegates at a meeting to debate the issue of gays in the church said it was time for acceptance, reports. Synod chair Dr Eric Kua noted that in the world today human rights had to be taken seriously and that people had to be open minded about such issues. The newspaper reports that "a handful of eligible voters" decided that lesbians and gays be excluded from much of the church's work. Homosexual sex is still a criminal offence in Papua New Guinea. Otago University's Epidemiology Group says the region has a very high rate of sexually transmitted disease, as fear of discrimination or legal punishment drives same-sex activities underground, leading to inaccurate HIV statistics and hindering education programmes.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News Staff
First published: Wednesday, 27th January 2010 - 1:43pm
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