Lesbian minister loses case against church
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Johannesburg - The Western Cape High Court dismissed lesbian minister Ecclesia de Lange's case against the Methodist Church of SA (MCSA) on Wednesday with costs, the church said.
“... The judge declared the application by De Lange premature and that she should first submit to arbitration,” the MCSA said in a statement.
De Lange reportedly claimed she had been unfairly dismissed from her ministry because of her sexual orientation, after she told her congregation in December 2009 that she was going to marry her female partner.
She was ordained in 2006 and married her partner on December 15, 2009.
She has since divorced the woman and is set to marry again.
Her lawyers told the court last month that she married a woman before the church had taken a decision on gay marriage.
The church had been deliberating on gay marriage for 13 years and had still not taken a decision.
Lawyers for the church reportedly said De Lange, 43, had broken a church rule which stipulated that “no positive steps toward same-sex unions be taken pending further determination”.
Her decision to wed was seen as “an attempt to impose her religious and doctrinal views on the church and its members”.
Ziphozihle Siwa, the presiding bishop of the MCSA, said the church welcomed Wednesday's judgment.
“... The church will continue to be in prayer and conversation over this issue as we encourage life-giving interaction and dialogue.
“We continue to accept and offer pastoral care to everyone, irrespective of their sexual orientation,” Siwa said. - Sapa