Auckland's Rainbow Church is calling a move to bless same-sex marriage by Christchurch's Anglican church a "pathetic, half-step forward".
The city's Diocesan Synod voted to support a proposal yesterday to bless same-sex marriages, following submissions both for and against the blessings.
Bishop Victoria Matthews said members of the Diocese bravely got up and spoke about issues which were deeply personal and usually private.
"I want to assure them that their voices have been heard," Bishop Matthews said.
She said the decision was step one in a two-part process and the motion would be discussed on a national level at the General Synod in May.
However, the spokesman for the Auckland Rainbow Church, Peter Lineham, said the church remained very conservative and it was far from introducing same-sex marriage.
"It's a pathetic half-step forward but it's half a step and that's good ...but many would want a lot lot more than this."
Mr Lineham, who is a Massey University history professor, said Christchurch was usually a conservative area so having some recognition might mean the wider Anglican synod voted in favour of the blessing.