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Gay man fighting for right to be Anglican priest

Bishop Ross Bay says he is following the Anglican Church's doctrine. Photo / Steven McNicoll
Bishop Ross Bay says he is following the Anglican Church's doctrine. Photo / Steven McNicoll

A HOMOSEXUAL man is taking the Anglican Bishop of Auckland to the Human Rights Tribunal after being rejected for training as a priest.

A hearing begins today following a complaint from the man, who says he feels discriminated against because of his sexuality.

It is understood the man - who is in a sexual relationship with his partner - has wanted to enter the church's training programme for priests for years.

But after applying to enter after years of study, he was rejected by the Bishop Ross Bay, who approves entrants.

Bishop Bay told One News last night that he was simply following the church's doctrines.

The man was rejected "by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church," the bishop said.

That means that anyone wanting to become ordained needs to be in what the Anglican Church deems to be a chaste relationship - a marriage between a man and a woman or committed to a life of celibacy.

In a statement to the tribunal, the complainant says he "felt totally humiliated that I had spent six years of my life in study, for a process that I was not permitted to enter because I was a gay man and in a relationship".

"My humiliation and disappointment continue to this day."

He also claims that had he been unmarried but in a heterosexual relationship, he would have been allowed to train as a priest.

However, it is understood that is not the case and that Bishop Bay has rejected people in such relationships in the past.

A spokesman for the Anglican diocese of Auckland, Jayson Rhodes, said he could not get into details of the case.

"The best way for both sides of this to be heard is before the tribunal, rather than through the media."

Topics:  anglican church gay rights


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