Christians Call To Dump Civil Union Bill

Published: Wed 6 Oct 2004 11:36 AM
Press Release 5 October 2004
The Wellington Christian Apologetics Society Inc.
Christians Call To Dump Civil Union Bill
The Society’s oral submission presented to the Justice and Electoral Committee on Monday evening the 4th of October 2004 by three of its executive members and its written submission, called for the Civil Union Bill and its companion Bill - The Relationships (Statutory References) Bill - to be dumped by MPs. The latter Bill, said Society president Mr David Lane, “seeks to impose an ideological fantasy across the board to a vast array of laws: the fantasy that all relationships involving couples are functionally the same and deserve to be treated the same in law. This is a blatant denial of reality and results in the removal of freedoms.” The Society’s submission was one of 6,170 received by the committee of which 95.5% (5,892) were opposed to the Civil Union Bill.
Oral Submission
We will seek to highlight the special character of marriage as understood from the Judaeo-Christian world-view and explain how these bills serve to advance an alternative world-view, that of secular humanism, one that is totally opposed to the moral order than emanates from the former and one that negates the very principles that undergird a healthy and life-giving social order.
Establishing a legal recognition framework (“civil -unions”) for same-sex partnerships (couples) that confers the same legal rights to those couples in such partnerships as those couples who are currently married, is detrimental to the good of society.
Adopting such a framework that entitles different sex couples to choose between a “civil-union” as defined in the bill and marriage, which itself IS a civil union creates a legal nonsense. This is highlighted by the bill’s proposal that heterosexual couples who have entered the new “civil-union” can sometime later convert such a category of relationship into a marriage by merely filling out the appropriate paperwork. This ‘right’ to convert is not open to same-sex couples, proving the point that the new legislation actually discriminates against same-sex couples. The conversion ‘right’ to move from “civil-union” to marriage and backwards could become a repeated pattern in the lives of heterosexual couples making a nonsense of the claimed special recognition of traditional marriage under the bill.
The Civil Union Bill, if enacted into law sends out all the wrong messages to young people in that it treats in practical terms, marriage as being no different from any other loose form of commitment such as the loosest imaginable a de-facto partnership. It undermines the concept of marriage and the traditional understanding of life-long spousal commitment and fidelity. It gives state sanctioning to same-sex partnerships when in fact the state has no reason whatsoever to get involved in such lifestyle choices.
The state involvement in heterosexual marriage involving a public commitment, solemnisation and registration is necessary because of the fact that children can potentially be produced from heterosexual partnerships. Same-sex couples cannot produce children and so the concept of shared biological kinship does not apply.
To obtain children same-sex couples must break the very bonds of fidelity that are at the heart of marriage. Same-sex couples can never offer to their own children the nurturing love of a mother (wife) and father (husband) united in love and role-models of the very partnership that is the cornerstone of the survival of society and the human race.
The Relationships (Statutory References) Bill seeks to create ‘a level playing field’ for all relationships (same-sex, de-facto and heterosexual). In doing so it denies the fundamental difference in “kind” and “nature” between these relationships. The Bill if enacted into law is detrimental to the public good.
According to Judeo-Christian teaching marriage is a special covenant relationship entered into by one man and one woman before God, involving the declaration of public vows to a life lived together in life-long commitment to mutual love, faithfulness, fidelity, etc. It is an institution that is God-ordained and is set forth as the proper place for sexual intimacy, the loving nurturing of children, and is the ideal and highest expression of the complementary function and loving interdependence of men and women, created in the image of God. [1] Marriage involving one husband and one wife was designed by the Creator from the very beginning of Creation to bring the greatest happiness and blessing to mankind. It predates the State and was affirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ as ordained by God from the beginning of Creation.[2]
To call marriage an “institution” is to merely recognise its public purpose. The state has and must have a significant interest in marriage because children are potentially involved in most cases. The civil component of marriage confers certain legal rights and responsibilities on those who get married because the state has an interest in the stability of such relationships and the welfare of children and recognises the intergenerational kinship links that are forged, leading to the growth, productivity and stability of society and culture.
Having acknowledged these points, this does not deny the fact that society must take an active interest in the welfare of children that are born outside loving committed relationships, for example through incest, rape, casual sex between young people and immature adults unwilling to and often incapable of forming long-term committed relationships. Children born in such circumstances are often denied the ongoing loving support of one or both biological parents, because of the conscious decision(s) of adults responsible for bringing them into the world (their parents). In such situations the state has a duty to seek to secure the best possible substitute parental support for these children.
The Civil Union Bill, if passed, gives state approval to the development of motherless and fatherless (same-sex) ‘families’ – if we can call them that, denying children their greatest need – the loving support of both their biological mother and father living together in a dynamic and loving relationship. This would happen when the state erroneously recognises same-sex partners who enter a civil union, as being the functional equivalents of a married couple and treating them under law as such (with a few minor exceptions).[3] Same sex partners cannot together produce children who are biologically linked to both partners. A third party is required (e.g. a sperm donor for a lesbian couple).
The state has no business endorsing and promoting in law any relationship other than marriage. The legal recognition by the state that gay couples so crave for their relationships, amounts to an attempt to gain state approval of a personal lifestyle relationship that involves less than 1% of the NZ population.[4] Marriage, defined to involve a heterosexual couple, with or without any form of religious component(s), is open to any male or female New Zealander. It is not an act of discrimination for the state to have a law barring same-sex marriage as the Court of Appeal ruled in Quilter v Attorney General (1998). Most New Zealanders strongly oppose same-sex marriage.
Gay-rights activists have persisted with their erroneous claims that it is an act of unlawful discrimination on the part of the state, to be denied the ‘right’ to have their same-sex relationship recognised in law. Their appeal to perceived ‘rights’ is based on the “prohibited grounds of discrimination” listed in s. 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993, which include “sexual orientation, which means heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation”. Some go so far as claiming that their “civil rights” are being denied. These claims are erroneous because they fail to recognise that the state can lawfully discriminate between same-sex and heterosexual marriage because they constitute fundamentally different relationships. The “right to freedom from discrimination” contained in s. 19 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990 that is linked back to s. 21 of the HRA apply to individuals, not couples.
The Relationships (Statutory References) Bill seeks to impose an ideological fantasy across the board to a vast array of laws: the fantasy that all relationships involving couples are functionally the same and deserve to be treated the same in law. This is a blatant denial of reality and results in the removal of freedoms. The overwhelming majority of those in de facto relationships have chosen to forgo the option of a civil marriage giving their relationship state recognition, for a number reasons that have involved careful consideration. This companion Bill to the Civil Union Bill will impose a whole new set of constraints (called rights and responsibilities) on the very people who wish to avoid nanny state interference.
The Society’s viewpoint is that when the government treats a proposed Bill as a conscience issue then it cannot disregard the need for a careful consideration of the moral dimension. The Civil Union Bill is promoted largely by those who are secular humanists and appear to subscribe to the bankrupt philosophy of moral relativism. The problem here is that lawmakers cannot ignore the fact that the majority of New Zealanders identified themselves as Christian in the 2001 NZ Census (and this does not include the 63,597 who described themselves specifically as “Maori Christian”). The Christian total is more than twice the number of those who claimed “no religion” and over 50 times more than the next highest category.
To abandon the transcendent fixed reference point God and His revelation in the consideration of any public policy that requires careful appraisal by the human conscience, is foolish. The Christian and all theists believe that the conscience is a God-given faculty and men and women are endowed by their Creator with a spiritual dimension. Loving relationships between humans involve a spiritual dimension.
The Society believes that the accumulated spiritual wisdom found in the Judeo-Christian tradition and specifically in the teachings of Jesus Christ – the God-man and the greatest moral teacher to have lived on Earth, point all societies and their law-makers to the unique and special character of marriage as ordained by God for the blessing of mankind.
[1] Genesis 1:26; 9 [2] Mark 10:6-9. Genesis 2:24. [3] Civil Unions entered into under NZ law are not necessarily recognised in other countries. If the Civil Union Act becomes law same sex couples will still not be able to adopt children, as those who are married are now able to. [4] ~ 0.6% in the 2001 NZ Census.

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