The Anglican Church in New Zealand is defending its slow progress on accepting same sex relationships.
On Wednesday it was announced after a general synod in Waitangi that a report would be commissioned on whether priests can bless gay marriages which happen outside of the church.
Archbishop Phillip Richardson said the church still thinks Christian marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
But he said it has unanimously agreed same-sex couples can be part of church life and is commissioning a report on whether gay marriages and civil unions performed outside of the church can be blessed by a priest.
That report will not be complete for another two years.
Archbishop Richardson acknowledged the delay is hurtful to same-sex couples but said changing hundreds of years of church doctrine was a slow process.
A professor in religion at Massey University, Peter Lineham, said the Anglican Church worldwide is divided over the issue to the point of a threat of schism. He said the church in New Zealand has taken a very cautious pro-change approach and is aiming for unanimity.