Ecclesia de Lange

Ecclesia de Lange

Ecclesia de Lange, who was fired as a minister by the Methodist Church of South Africa (MCSA) because she’s lesbian, is planning to appeal the dismissal of her case by the Cape Town High court.

In June, Judge Veldhuizen opted not to address the validity of De Lange’s case and instead dismissed her application to order the church to reinstate her.

He ruled that her application to the High Court was premature and referred the matter back to arbitration within the church.

Judge Veldhuizen also ordered De Lange to pay all the costs related to her application.

On Thursday, De Lange’s legal team will return to the court to present arguments to Judge Veldhuizen in a request that she be allowed to appeal his previous order.

“We don’t believe that justice was served by the judge’s last pronouncement,” De Lange’s spokesperson, Mike Luppnow, told Mambaonline.

He said that De Lange had decided to appeal for two reasons. The first, he explained, is that ordering her to pay the costs will be crippling to her.

“The application was a costly experience and we regard the case being dismissed with costs to Ecclesia as being punitive, considering that she is an individual and coming up against the MCSA, a widely funded institution,” he said.

He also insisted that De Lange’s application has merit in terms of the issues at stake and that the judge was unfair. “The matter is not resolved and we don’t have confidence in the arbitration process,” he said.

The last attempt at arbitration took two years, failed and was, said Luppnow, biased against De Lange. “We were left with a bad taste in our mouth from the arbitration. This could be another two years in a woman’s life who can’t move on.”

De Lange was dismissed by the MCSA in 2010 when she announced her intention to marry her female partner.

In January 2010, a disciplinary hearing found De Lange guilty of “failing to observe the provisions of the Laws and Disciplines and all other policies, decisions, practices and usages of the Church…”

A month later, the MCSA’s Connexional Disciplinary Committee upheld the guilty verdict and sentenced De Lange to be “discontinued” from the ministry of the MCSA.

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