A gay man in New Zealand who wants to become an Anglican priest is taking the Bishop of Aukland to the country’s Human Rights Tribunal for discriminating against him.
The man, whose name has not been released, claims the Rev. Ross Bay refuses to allow him to enter the Anglican Church’s training or discernment program for priests because he is gay, according to a report at TVNZ.com.
Bay told the television station church rules determine who can be ordained. He refused the gay applicant “by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church.” Anyone in a sexual relationship outside of marriage would not be accepted to train as a priest, Bay said.
But in April, New Zealand became the 13th country in the world to approve same-sex marriage. The first weddings approved under the law can take place in August. The Anglican Church also is debating whether to ordain gay and lesbian clergy.
The would-be priest acknowledges he is not married and is in a physical relationship with his boyfriend.
New Zealand’s Human Rights act, adopted in 1993, gives organized religions following their doctrines an exception to discrimination laws. But if the tribunal rules in favor of the complainant, the following fissure could be enough to split the Anglican Church, one expert suggested.