|New Zealand||BISHOPS BACK GAY MARRIAGE PLANS|
The New Zealand bishops' conference this week added its approval of a government plan to grant same-sex couples the same legal rights enjoyed by married couples, in apparent contradiction to current teaching from the Vatican.
The bishops said in a report to the Ministry of Justice they will support the registration system which will grant legal rights, including tax allowances, legal aid, and property entitlements, that married couples have, but opposed adoption by same-sex couples or access to "reproductive technology" to allow them to become parents.
Opponents of the plan, including the Christian Heritage Party, were stunned by the bishops' acquiescence to the plan. The Rev. Graham Capill, leader of the party, said same-sex unions should be recognised in any form. "We are playing with semantics. To treat homosexual couples to a form of registration but not call them married is to give them the same status but not the same title," he said.