As New Zealand’s parliament debates marriage equality, an Auckland church with a strong and vocal gay-friendly policy is making a statement with a new billboard on a main road.
Reverend Clay Nelson of the historic St-Matthew-in-the-City has welcomed several LGBT events inside the church, including civil union ceremonies, the annual AIDS Candlelight Memorial and several gay community fundraisers. And it’s not the first time their big billboard space outside has featured a welcoming LGBT equality message.
Starring two kissing brides, the new billboard was put up last week, with the message “We don’t care who’s on top.”
“Our question is why would any church not endorse two people making a loving commitment to each other,” says Nelson.
“Through our billboard we are expressing our solidarity with the many Christians in many denominations who are calling on Members of Parliament to support Louisa Wall’s [Marriage Equality] bill.”
Several friends of the church have been reacting on its Facebook page. “St. Matthews is the only church that has ever inspired me to become the slightest bit religious,” typed one fan of the new billboard. “I love how everyone is accepted no matter who you are.”
“I passed the billboard earlier today and despite myself, had a chuckle,” a Baptist pastor reacted. “The message is unambiguous. Further, it is cheeky, multi-layered, and like the best of billboard communication, subversive.
“How refreshing if our city’s evangelical churches had the wit and wisdom to communicate their message in just such a thought-provoking and challenging manner.”