The Archbishop of Cape Town was driven to tears this week – as his Church voted to reject blessings for same-sex unions.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since 2006 – and a decade later it remains the only country in Africa with equal marriage.
A decade on from equal marriage first becoming law, last week the country’s Anglican Church overwhelmingly rejected proposals to allow gay clergy, and to allow clergy to “provide for prayers of blessing” for same-sex unions.
Thabo Makgoba, the South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, lamented the decision in a letter to the LGBT community.
He wrote: “I was deeply pained by the outcome of the debate. I was glad I wear glasses or the Synod would have seen the tears.
“I wanted to be anywhere but in the Synod hall – I wished I was at home quietly in Makgoba’s Kloof.
“If one of you, my church members, is in pain, then I am in pain too. The pain on both sides of the debate in Synod was palpable and no one celebrated or applauded the outcome.
“There are no winners or losers in the Kingdom of God, and we recognised that whichever way the vote went, there was going to be pain.
He affirmed to LGBT people: “You are loved by God and all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.
“We recognise that many of you are baptised and confirmed members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of your lives and the ordering of your relationships.
“We urge you to stick with us to play your full part in the deliberations to come.”