The call from Presbyterian Church Moderator Ray Coster comes as all the country’s biggest Protestant churches remain divided over how to respond to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, which comes into force on Monday.
Several ministers, including lesbian Presbyterian minister Margaret Mayman at Wellington’s St Andrew’s on the Terrace, are already taking bookings for same-sex weddings and plan a “progressive Christian” website listing ministers of all denominations willing to conduct such marriages.
But the conservative Presbyterian Affirm movement is challenging a legal opinion by a church advisory committee that ministers can choose whether to perform a same-sex marriage.
The Anglican Church, still the nation’s biggest in the 2006 Census, says its ministers cannot conduct same-sex weddings pending a report from a commission chaired by former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand to its next general synod in Paihia next May.
Methodist Church president Rex Nathan said his church, the fourth-biggest, was split “50/50” and would leave the decision to individual ministers and their congregations.