Bishops take concerns over Marriage Bill to the Select Committee Today

28 Nov 2012 | GENERAL INTEREST

New Zealand Catholic Bishops today appeared before the Government Administration Select Committee considering the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill to share their concerns over the future implications should it become law.

Archbishop John Dew, Bishop Colin Campbell and Mrs Sue Devereux represented the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference at the hearing today at Parliament and spoke to the Bishops’ written Submission which was released today.

[Editor’s note: Archbishop John Dew is President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference and Bishop of Wellington Archdiocese, Bishop Colin Campbell is Vice-President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference and Bishop of Dunedin Diocese, Sue Devereux is the Pastoral Services Advisor for Family Ministry for the Wellington Archdiocese. ]

“We are grateful for the opportunity to speak to our written Submission, and outline our concerns to you in person,” Archbishop John Dew told the Committee.

“The Catholic Church has always taught and promoted that marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of the family unit,” Archbishop Dew said.

“Sexual difference affects all aspects of human existence – biologically, psychologically, genetically and socially, marriage is founded on sexual difference and the traditional definition of marriage reflects this unique reality,” Sue Devereux said.

“The opposites of male and female trying to find unity is what marriage is all about. It is what can be called the dance of marriage, as two very different people, different in their sexuality psychologically and physically connect in a unique way,”

“This uniqueness requires a name and definition which distinguishes marriage from any other form of relationship,” Bishop Colin Campbell said.

Archbishop Dew also raised with the Committee the Bishops’ concerns over protections for religious freedom and autonomy should this Bill pass into law.

“While we welcome public statements by the Bill’s author Louisa Wall that religious communities will not be required to conduct same-sex marriages or be limited in what they teach about marriage from the pulpit, we ask that these sentiments are clearly and specifically included in the Bill to remove any doubt should the Bill become law,”

The full text of the Bishops written Submission is here