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Church steps up to stage gay marriage

Last updated 05:00 16/08/2013
Matt Tittle
JASON OXENHAM
WE DO: Auckland Unitarian Church minister the Rev Matt Tittle will perform one of New Zealand’s first same-sex marriages at the Ponsonby Church.

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A small church at the top of Ponsonby Rd will play a part in a big day in New Zealand's history.

The historically progressive Auckland Unitarian Church will marry a couple who won a radio competition to become one of the first same-sex couples to marry legally in New Zealand.

Radio station ZM was originally hoping to hold the wedding of former Football Ferns player Melissa Ray and her partner Tash Vitali at St Matthew-in-the-City until organisers learned Anglican Church rules forbid its ministers from performing same-sex marriages.

Auckland Unitarian Church minister the Rev Matt Tittle then immediately offered the services of the Ponsonby church to the couple.

The service will begin on Monday at 8am on the day same-sex marriage becomes legal under Labour MP Louisa Wall's bill which passed in April.

The Unitarians happily perform same-sex marriages, ordain gay clergy and welcome all of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to their congregations around the world. Dr Tittle was dismayed to see so many churches closing their doors to gay couples when the bill passed (Auckland City Harbour News, May 3).

"I am honoured to be a part of this wonderful, historic event," he says.

He has officiated at a number of same-sex weddings in the United States.

All of the feedback he has received since the Auckland Unitarian Church announced its stance on same-sex marriage to the Auckland City Harbour News has been positive, he says.

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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