New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops have expressed disappointment after the Definition of Marriage Bill, allowing for same sex marriage, passed its first reading by 78 to 40 on a conscience vote with no abstentions on Wednesday.
“To propose any alternative definition will have implications in law, and in society, but also for education and the family structure which throughout history has been seen as the fundamental unit in every society, says Archbishop Dew, the Chairman of the The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC)
Full Text of Bishops’ Statement
The Catholic Bishops have voiced their concerns over fundamentally changing the family structure on which our society is built and are disappointed that MPs have voted the Bill through this first stage.
The Bishops had appealed to MPs to keep marriage as defined between a man and a woman. Other legal avenues exist for same sex couples to publicly declare their love and lifelong commitment to each other. The Bishops will continue to voice their concerns through a submission on the Bill.
“The Catholic Church affirms love, fidelity and commitment in all relationships, but believes that marriage should be defined as being between a man and a woman”, says Archbishop John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.
“To propose any alternative definition will have implications in law, and in society, but also for education and the family structure which throughout history has been seen as the fundamental unit in every society”, says Archbishop Dew.
“Society doesn’t have the right to deprive a child of both its father and mother, both equally significant in their upbringing. We’re concerned about children growing up without one or both parents as part of the primary parenting partnership. We also understand that as humans we have a real need to get to know both of our biological parents.
“While there are families which include single parents and same sex couples raising children there is a question to be asked about whether we want to legislate for a new norm for the family unit”, he says.
- The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference
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