Amanda & Ecclesia on their wedding day

Ecclesia de Lange, the lesbian minister fired because she married her female partner, has taken the first step in suing the Methodist Church of Southern Africa for discrimination.

In a media statement released on Saturday by her legal team, De Lange said that she believes that not only was the Church’s procedure in dismissing her flawed, but that it “unconstitutionally discriminated against her on the basis of, amongst others, her sexual orientation”.

On this basis, De Lange said that she has decided to contest the issues involved and has already consulted a senior attorney to the High and Constitutional Court.

In February, De Lange lost her appeal against an earlier guilty verdict by the District Disciplinary Committee which sentenced Ecclesia to being “discontinued” from the ministry. The decision was later ratified by Presiding Bishop Abrahams.

As a result, De Lange was stripped of her ministerial rights and duties and is not permitted to continue her work as a minister of the Church.

De Lange was first suspended in January when she announced to her Cape Town congregation that she had married her wife Amanda. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa does not recognise same-sex marriages.

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