A gay man who went to a tribunal over being refused the position of a priest at the Anglican Church, has said he is “grateful” the commission took his case, and that he may apply again in future for the job.
Geno Sisneros, gave up his attempts to be accepted to a training course to become a priest, and claimed that he was discriminated against because he is gay.
His case against the Bishop of Auckland, Ross Bay, who turned down his training application, was taken up by the Human Rights Tribunal, which ruled that he was discriminiated against, but which is still to decide whether the church broke the law by doing so.
“I take comfort in knowing that we have already made an important concession from the church in that in not allowing gay and lesbian Anglicans who are living in same-sex relationships to test their calling is discriminatory,” he said.
“I want to say that I’m grateful to live in a country that provides a forum like the Human Rights Tribunal where marginalised people can have a voice and be hear,” he continued.
Lawyers for Mr Bay said he was following the regulations of the belief system of the church, which, they argued, can’t legally be controlled by the court.
Mr Bay said: “One of the points of issue here is the application of the Human Rights Act in ensuring there is the right to freedom of religious doctrine and belief.”
“We are dealing with sensitive issues and with the human lives that are affected. The church is engaging with processes of discussion. But there are a wide variety of views around the issue,” he said.
The decision by the tribunal is expected to take several weeks, as it has several hundred pages of evidence to consider.