The Anglican Church also has a moratorium against the ordination of people living in openly gay relationships. Now it is tackling the issue head-on, establishing a commission to summarise the biblical and theological work done by the church on the ordination of gay priests and same-sex civil unions during the past 30 years.
The commission’s report on options and implications of change will be discussed at the 2014 Anglican general synod.
The Rev Dr James Harding, assistant priest at All Saints Anglican Church, North Dunedin, and a senior lecturer in Old Testament studies at the University of Otago, said the debate going on in Parliament was unlikely to influence the views of anyone in the church.
While most church leaders agreed that the Bible was the authority on marriage, they disagreed on how to interpret scripture, he said.