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New Zealand churches to ignore marriage equality

Most New Zealand religious groups say they will simply ignore the legalization of same-sex marriage if a bill is passed by parliament
New Zealand's Parliament

The vast majority of faith groups in New Zealand have indicated they will not perform same-sex marriages even if the bill currently before the parliament to legalize them passes both houses.

Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and orthodox Jewish religious denominations have all indicated their opposition.

Anwar Ghani, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, told Stuff.co.nz that same-sex marriage was unacceptable under Muslim law.

‘Our position is very clear - Islam does not allow marriages of same sex. Islam views marriage not just for recreation, but for procreation,’ Ghani he said.

General secretary of the New Zealand Sikh Society Lali Singh said the Sikh religion could not condone same-sex marriages.

‘We will not allow any gay marriages in the temples,’ Singh said. ‘It's against religious rules - it should be just between a man and a woman.’

However Buddhists, Progressive Jews, and Christian groups such as the Quakers and some Presbyterians may be more sympathetic in being prepared to marry same-sex couples. But it appears that most will have to seek secular celebrants.

Presbyterian minister Margaret Mayman, of St Andrew's on the Terrace in Wellington told Stuff she believed other churches and denominations would come to embrace same-sex marriage in time.

‘There's a fairly familiar pattern,’ she said.

‘First of all people are in denial . . . then gradually admit some exceptions, and then suddenly it's fine.’

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage passed through the New Zealand Parliament’s Lower House on Thursday with the support of MPs from all parties but the anti-immigration New Zealand First party and will go to a committee before being voted on again.

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