QUEER VOICES
05/22/2013 05:05 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Ecclesia De Lange, South African Lesbian Reverend, Sues Methodist Church After Dismissal

A lesbian reverend in South Africa is filing a lawsuit after being dismissed by her church after tying the knot with her partner.

As ioL News points out, Reverend Ecclesia de Lange's 2010 dismissal from the Methodist Church of South Africa came after she wed her wife earlier that same year. The church was in cahoots about taking a stance on same-sex marriage when de Lange informed her congregation that she was planning to wed her partner in 2009, according to Buzzfeed.

The Methodist church has been debating about the issue for 13 years now and still has yet to make a decision.

Lawyers representing the church said that the 43-year-old minister disobeyed a church rule, stating that "no positive steps toward same-sex unions ... be taken pending further determination."

The church believed that de Lange's marriage to her partner was an attempt to impose her views on marriage equality, on the entire church community.

The reverend, who is now divorced, feels that she was unfairly fired from her ministry because she is a lesbian. She took her case to court, after enduring arbitration from the church. On May 21, the High Court of Western Cape accepted her claim, under the pretense that the Methodist Church of South Africa violated South African non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation.

de Lange recently voiced her frustration with the case via her Facebook page.

"The last two days have been physically and emotionally draining," she wrote. "Listening to the arguments of both counsels were the culmination of three and a half years of anxiety, fear, hard ache and tears. It also highlighted the amazing love and grace that I have experienced from all my supporters, family and friends."

In 2006, same-sex marriage became legal in South Africa, making it the first African country to do so.

Watch a video above of de Lange discussing her case.

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