Methodist church stands firm on its gay marriage beliefs

The Methodist church says there’s huge debate among its members about gay marriage.

FILE: Ecclesia De Lange’s legal team has argued that freedom of religion does not allow one freedom to discriminate. Picture: Stock.xchng.

JOHANNESBURG - The Methodist church says there's huge debate among its members about gay marriage and that the Constitutional Court's decision on this matter could "tear the religious body apart".

Six years ago Ecclesia De Lange was dismissed as a minister because she is a lesbian who wanted to marry her partner.

De Lange is challenging her dismissal as a minister of the church in 2009, allegedly because of her sexual orientation and because she announced her plans to marry her female partner.

Her legal team has argued that freedom of religion does not allow one freedom to discriminate.

The church's Advocate Wim Trengove says there are churches who are still deciding what their stance on gay marriage should be.

"It says where I draw the line is where you formalise that relationship, the church doctrine recognises only one form of partnership, that is a heterosexual marriage."

Lawyers for the church have argued that it has the right to make decisions based on religious beliefs.