NZ Bishops lobby MPs on gay marriage threat
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference has written to Members of Parliament regarding the country's proposed Civil Union Bill, which would give relationships other than marriage the same legal consequences as marriage.
The letter says that it does not follow that fair treatment for homosexual persons and persons in de facto relationships requires a willingness to "disown the special nature of marriage or discard its unique position in the legal system".
Labour's Rainbow Policy 2002 mainfesto, from which the Civil Union legislation arises, promises that Labour will ensure "equality in law for Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender relationships and family structures". Prime Minister Helen Clark said the Bill is a "piece of legislation that would help end discrimination on the grounds of sexual preference or 'gender identity.'"
The Bishops argue that serious discussion on what makes marriage different from all other relationships "should not be diverted or manipulated by accusations of 'anti-gay' or 'homophobic' or 'anti-choice' against those who defend the uniqueness of marriage, any more than lack of good faith should be presumed of those who hold opposing positions".
New Zealand Bishops' statement on proposed Civil Union legislation (Catholic Communications New Zealand 2/4/04)
Civil Union Bill
Civil Unions A Modern Approach For Kiwi Couples (Scoop Politics 29/3/04)
Letter to the members of Parliament Concerning the Civil Unions Bill (Catholic Communications New Zealand)
Rainbow Policy 2002 (New Zealand Labour)
5 Apr 2004