Court ruling on same-sex unions in Dutch Reformed Church welcomed

The judgment was handed down in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday and allows gay and lesbian members who are in same sex relationships to become ministers of the reformed church.

A guest wears a rainbow coloured bow-tie during a same-sex wedding in Hamburg, northern Germany on 1 October 2017. Germany celebrated its first gay marriages as same-sex unions became legal after decades of struggle.. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - A court ruling overturning the Dutch Reformed Church's decision not to recognise same-sex marriages has brought into sharp focus the church's role in promoting inclusivity and upholding the Constitution.

The judgment was handed down in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday and allows gay and lesbian members who are in same-sex relationships to become ministers of the reformed church.

The church made headlines in 2015 after it gave its blessing to same-sex marriages, but it later back tracked, saying these relationships do not meet Christian guidelines.

It also decided that homosexual people could become ministers only if they were celibate.

Professor Charlene van der Walt, from the school of religion and philosophy at UKZN, has welcomed the court ruling.

“It’s a sad thing that the Constitution has to tell faith communities to be faithful to the gospel of inclusion, love and human dignity.”

The LGBTQ community says churches should be held more accountable for upholding the Constitution.

One of the people who challenged the d church's decision, Laurie Gaum, has called on faith-based communities to lead by example.

“We will really need to celebrate Diversity and not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identification.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)