Arctic Diocese Bans Gays from Employment: Bishop Says Church Has 'Moral Code' to Follow

By Sison, Marites N. | Anglican Journal, September 2005 | Go to article overview

Arctic Diocese Bans Gays from Employment: Bishop Says Church Has 'Moral Code' to Follow


Sison, Marites N., Anglican Journal


The Anglican diocese of the Arctic has given notice that it will not employ the following: anyone having pre-marital sex, homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals, those who willingly engage in sexual activities with a minor and with those whom they are counseling or supervising (excluding spouse) and those who fail to disclose a prior conviction on child sexual abuse.

Anyone who "supports and promotes such behavior, lifestyle or teaching" is likewise not eligible for employment, according to the diocesan synod, which voted on the issue during a meeting in Iqaluit May 25 to June 2.

The conditions apply not just to clergy who are licensed or seeking a license to minister in the diocese but also to current as well as prospective lay workers.

"We are a religious organization that has a moral code that we abide by," said Larry Robertson, suffragan bishop of Mackenzie and Kitikmeot, explaining the synod's decision to amend its canon on the order and eligibility for licensing (Canon 18) by setting the same conditions for clergy and lay employees. "We don't condemn others but this is what we believe and how we behave according to God's word. There was concern that people who represent the church abide by the lifestyle expected of them."

In separate interviews with the Anglican Journal, Arctic diocesan bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk and Bishop Robertson said they did not think the diocese was being discriminatory or that it violated the Canadian Human Rights Act by banning gays from employment and lumping them in the same category as pedophiles, who are considered criminal offenders.

"We are being honest and upfront. If we're honest how can we be discriminatory? This is what we believe in," said Bishop Robertson.

"We recognize the Human Rights Act and we respect it," said Bishop Atagotaaluk. …

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