The Blessing of Same Gender Relationships in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia: A Mixed Blessing?

57 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2019 Last revised: 30 Sep 2019

See all articles by Etienne Wain

Etienne Wain

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 6, 2019

Abstract

In 2018, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia passed amendments to its canon law allowing ordained ministers to bless same gender marriages and civil unions. The Church wished to permit ordained ministers in favour of same gender blessings to conduct them, but needed to do so in a manner that safeguarded the beliefs of those who disagreed with same gender blessings, to discourage members from leaving the Church.

The legislative changes feature several significant aspects. The formularies and doctrine of marriage were left unchanged. The legislation provides a process via which bishops can authorise ordained ministers to conduct same gender blessings. Decisions made by bishops and ordained ministers around the authorisation and use of blessing services are excluded from the scope of the Church’s disciplinary practices. Finally, the legislation provides for societies called “Christian Communities”, with which ministry units can affiliate to safeguard their beliefs. This essay evaluates the same gender blessings legislation and concludes that it largely succeeded in fulfilling the Church’s purposes by providing a way for ordained ministers to conduct same gender blessings while safeguarding the beliefs of within the Church who see such blessings as unbiblical.

Keywords: Anglican Church, canon law

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Wain, Etienne, The Blessing of Same Gender Relationships in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia: A Mixed Blessing? (September 6, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 20/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3449060 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3449060

Etienne Wain (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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