Bishops Response to Select Committee Report on Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill

The Bishops have not yet had the opportunity to study the full report in detail, however they are disappointed that the Select Committee is recommending the Bill be passed. The Bishops are committed to the understanding of marriage shared by societies for centuries, that marriage is the unique reality of a man and woman in a public, committed relationship with the natural potential to produce children.

The Bishops welcome the Select Committee’s recommendation that an amendment to the Bill be included that clarifies beyond doubt the understanding that celebrants who are ministers of religion is not obliged to perform marriage ceremonies for same sex couples if it contravenes their religion. These concerns were expressed in the Bishops written and oral submissions to the Select Committee along with many others who expressed similar concerns.

Ahead of the Second Reading vote the Bishops urge MPs to consider carefully the magnitude of social change that is before them. Do they really think that most New Zealanders want the words husband and wife removed from all New Zealand legislation concerning marriage?