Here is the Taonga report in full:
"Auckland Diocese has rejected a motion pressing for progress towards gay marriage, despite the two bishops voting for it.
The motion was debated at this weekend's diocesan synod.
While largely aspirational in nature, the motion sought both legal and liturgical progress on same-sex marriage.
It failed to reach a majority among the laity and thus failed to pass.
The voting was:
Bishops 2 for, 0 against; clergy 80 for, 44 against, 4 abstentions; and laity 72 for, 65 against, 8 abstentions.
A second motion in effect was an endorsement of liturgical blessings for same-gender couples.
It asked for work to be done on developing services for the blessing of same-sex relationships, to be taken to General Synod/te Hinota Whanui.
This motion passed comfortably in all three houses:
Clergy 91 for; 36 against; laity 104 for; 49 against; and the bishops assented.
The difference in voting seemed to reflect the perception that the word “marriage” is sacrosanct.Any definitive change will require related motions to be passed at General Synod in May next year."
This is a very interesting outcome in a diocese with a clear, trending liberal/progressive lean on these matters, considering recent synodical decisions.
1. It supports a line being pursued by some in discussions here: marriage is marriage but blessing of same sex (or, if you prefer, same gender) partnerships is another matter. Anecdotally I could take you to conversations I have had with self-declared liberals who think similarly to some conservatives on this distinction.
2. It offers a powerful challenge to those inclined to use the label 'homophobic' for resisters to changing the theological definition of marriage. In the mighty Diocese of Auckland that label would be applied to over a third of its clergy members of synod and nearly half of its lay members of synod. Still, don't let numbers deter you if you wish to so label ... after all, you know the truth and its frees you to cast aspersions on whom you will.
Additional comment (at 11.48 am Monday): I have just posted a (just discovered) comment from Edward Prebble (first of the comments below) about a third motion put to the synod, precisely on the topic of homophobia. Please read his comment below.
3. Noting the consistent voting of its two bishops, it raises the question whether Auckland should have a third bishop to reflect the conservative third of its synod :)
I have yet to come back to offer my own comment on Edward Prebble's proposal re future arrangements in our church ...
But the fourth and perhaps most important observation I offer here is the thought that this turn of events in the Auckland synod may offer a clue as to where GS 2014 should head if it has any interest in holding our church together.
4. Could GS 2014 offer an olive branch to all by resolutely leaving our doctrine of marriage alone but permitting and encouraging work to be done on a liturgy for the blessing of a relationship between two people of the same gender?
Postscript: I distinguish between the offering of such an olive branch and the reception of such an olive branch. I think that grace requires we offer olive branches to all. Whether all are willing to receive olive branches is another matter.