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NZ Bishops anti-gay marriage call rejected by other clergy

A coalition of over 50 New Zealand Christian leaders have rejected a call by the country’s Catholic bishops for young voters to oppose marriage equality
Andrew Cooper

New Zealand’s six Catholic bishops have written to young Catholic voters to urge them to oppose marriage equality which they say would threaten ‘society as a whole.’

‘This is no small matter, nor quibbling about words; this is an attempt to re-engineer the status and structure of family life in New Zealand and elsewhere,’ the bishops warned.

‘Marriage is never a universal human right. Not all persons can or should be married. While the immediate focus of the current proposal is whether a marriage must involve a man and a woman, the argument for change applies far more widely. Claiming “freedom of preference” and a universal “right to marry” would call monogamy itself into question. This denies the right to the truth about what marriage is, and about what the Church teaches on sexuality and marriage.

‘For the sake of married couples, their children and society as a whole, we ask you to oppose any change to the legal definition of marriage.’

In response, a coalition of over fifty Christian leaders from a variety of denominations signed a letter opposing the bishops’ letter and supporting same-sex marriage.

‘We too are members of the Christian community yet hold a different view,’ they wrote, ‘We think it’s time the Church recognizes and encourages those in same gender relationships who wish to pledge their love and fidelity to each other in the rite of marriage.’

‘While we concur that ‘not all persons can or should be married’, it is markedly unjust that any heterosexual couple can decide to be married, while a same sex couple who may have shared and displayed a committed love for decades are denied. Your inability to acknowledge this injustice damages your credibility.

As fellow Christians we call on you to re-consider your position in the light and hope of the Spirit of Jesus, and ask you to respect the dignity, freedom, and committed love of same gender couples to enter into the rite of marriage.’

The letter from the coalition of Christian leaders was signed by clergy from New Zealand’s Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Quaker churches.

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage is currently before the New Zealand Parliament and is expected to pass soon with the support from all major parties.

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