The Dutch Reformed Church insists that its decision not to recognize gay marriages does not amount to unfair discrimination and is not contrary to the Constitution.
In 2015, the Church made a decision to allow individual church councils to recognize gay marriages and also deleted a rule that homosexual servants of the Church should be celibate.
A year later, in 2016, the church approved a new policy, going back to the 2015 decision that banned the acceptance of homosexual associations.
Reverend Laurie Gaum, his father Frits Gaum and eight other members of the Dutch Reformed Church launched a High Court application to disregard the decision of 2016 and declare it unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court of North Gauteng heard Tuesday that the church did not believe that their decision not to accept gay marriage and to rule that all homosexual clergy would be celibate was in violation of the Constitution.
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The representative of the church, defender Schalk Burger, SC, argued that the decision of 2016 did not force anyone to do anything and did not forbid couples of the same sex to take part in civil unions.
He explained that the church did not stop gay marriages, but that gay couples in the Dutch Reformed Church can not marry.
"I would argue that there is no question of unfair discrimination, because if I understand the Constitution, there is room for the church to follow its own doctrine," Burger said.
He added that the Church was allowed to determine its own policies and interpretations of the Bible with respect to sexes of the same sex.
The Church admitted that this could be a form of discrimination, but said that Article 9 of the Bill of Rights spoke to unfair discrimination. He argued that the 2016 decision did not amount to unfair discrimination.
Chapter nine of the Constitution deals with the quality causes whereby no one can be unfairly discriminated directly or indirectly on grounds of race, gender, gender, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, skin color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, faith, culture, language and birth.
& # 39; No right to pain or discrimination & # 39;
Attorney Jeremy Gauntlet, SC, for Gaum and co, insisted that the Church should be discriminatory and that the church failed to come up with facts to fulfill the fact that in the 2016 decision there was a violation of the constitution.
He added that the Church did not have the right to harm someone or discriminate against anyone by not accepting homosexual commitments and by "imposing celibacy on one roof of people".
"If celibacy is the virtue of morality, they would tell everyone in the church to be celibate," Gauntlet argued.
"If it is good for race, it holds for the sex, then it should be good for sexual orientation," said Gauntlet, speaking about chapter nine of the constitution.
Gauntlet compared the attitude of the church with a hypothetical analogy in which a Christian school has adopted a policy to only take white children or refuse to care for disabled children.
"You can not do that."
Judgment is reserved.