The South African Council of Churches is expected to develop a stance on gay marriage to present to Parliament later this year.

Reports on the ISI Emerging Markets Africawire, suggest the SACC will use a two day conference which began yesterday, to formulate a view on civil partnerships.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke told the seminar that everyone has the constitutional right to be different, he said: “”The diversity [of South Africa] does not end with the nice things that we like; it actually extends to the way we relate to each other sexually.”

“None of those people who find themselves in the family formations that are ever evolving, and are changing in our society, ought to be penalised purely because they are from families that don’t look ideal.”

“We have since moved on from that intolerance and would like to see a society where we accept that a lot is … changing all the time. At the same time, the new formations ought to advance the values of our democratic society.”

Other speakers at the seminar include the Roman Catholic Church’s Cardinal Wilfred Napier, SACC president Professor Russel Botman, the Methodist Church’s presiding bishop, Ivan Abrahams, and gay Anglican priest Father Douglas Torr.

SACC general secretary Dr Molefe Tsele has voiced confidence that the seminar would help break stereotypes about gay people and human sexuality, he said: “As the church, we think it is a right thing that we have organised this seminar in order to get the people talking. They are important issues for both theological and constitutional understanding and we believe they will clear many issues about human sexuality.”

The SACC expected gay activists, gender activists, legal scholars, theologians and ordinary church people to participate in the second day of the seminar at the Kempton Park Conference Centre in Bonaero Park today.