AFTER two year search, the Uniting Church in Sydney’s lower north shore suburb of Neutral Bay has accepted openly gay Reverend Darren Liepold as its new minister.

Canadian-born Liepold told Mosman Daily that the Neutral Bay congregation has been “fantastic”, while noting he has not received any negative comments.

 His appointment follows several rejected applications from parishes nationwide, where Liepold suspected his sexuality was a factor in their refusal.

“A couple of churches didn’t want me because I was gay – for some people these issues take time,” he told Mosman Daily. 

“People need to get to know who I am, that I don’t have an agenda and my work is about the church – that is most important.”

Liepold is not the Uniting Church’s first openly-gay minister. The Pitt Street Uniting Church congregation in Sydney’s CBD is led by out lesbian Dr Margaret Mayman.

The reverend said he is proud of the social justice and inclusion the Uniting Church shares.

Liepold married Uniting Church of Canada minister Brian Nicholson in 2003 following the introduction of marriage equality in Canada.

Prior to getting married, the couple had a commitment ceremony in 1993 and adopted a son five years later.

While their marriage has been legally recognised in NSW, Liepold was disheartened that Australia has still not enacted marriage equality at a federal level.

“If people love one another why don’t people respect that?” he said.

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