That’s the Anglican church, South Africa.
To put this into some sort of context, we should note that on the one hand,South Africa ordained the first ever openly gay bishop some years before Gene Robinson in New Hampshire (that was Mervynn Castle, an auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Cape Town). Much more recently,the same diocese appointed the first woman bishop.South Africa was also the first country, anywhere, to write LGBT protection into its constitution, the only African country to legislate for full marriage and family equality, and one of the first worldwide to do so. Institutional respect for LGBT inclusion and opposition to discrimination is now hard-wired into public discourse.
On the other hand, note that this resolution is moving “towards” inclusion, for lay Anglicans only, and does not address church weddings or even blessings for same-sex couples. This is also not surprising – respect for diversity is strong in law and in the political, business and professional classes – but there remains powerful currents of homophobia among the grass roots.
Still – progress is progress.
Religion News Service reports:
South Africa’s Anglican bishops move toward gay inclusion
South Africa’s Anglican bishops have taken an initial step toward including LGBT people as full members of their congregations with the passage of a resolution at a meeting in the Grahamstown Diocese.The resolution now goes to the Provincial Synod, the church’s top decision-making body, which meets later this year, said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town. Show captionAnglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba leaves a Pretoria hospital where Nelson Mandela was being treated on June 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko *Editors: This photo may only be republished wtih RNS-SAFRICA-ANGLICAN, originally transmitted on Feb. 23, 2016. This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.“I believe its adoption by Provincial Synod would be an important first step signaling to the LGBT community that we … see them as welcome members,” Makgoba said in a pastoral letter dated Monday (Feb. 22).
- South Africa’s Anglican bishops move toward gay inclusion (religionnews.com)
- Southern Africa bishops: Same-sex couples “full members” of church (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- South African bishops: Same-sex couples should have ‘full membership’ (christiantoday.com)