Broad Christian Support for Civil Unions Continues
Tuesday 7 December 2004 M
A media release today from twenty-one church leaders is not representative of Christian views. While some of those who
have signed may represent their churches’ views, others are simply making a personal statement. Even within churches
that have made denominational statements, there are leaders and members who support civil unions.
Christians for Civil Unions, an ecumenical network of Christians supporting the legislation is emphasising again that
there is significant Christian support for civil unions.
Earlier this year, Baptist minister Rev Dr Alan Jamieson explained that he supported the Bill because of two key
elements in the Baptist tradition: the separation between church and state; and the right of all people to decide their
own stance on moral issues. "The Bill removes the obvious discrimination in favour of married couples, while protecting
the rights of religious groups to maintain their tradition's view on marriage."
Today Wellington Methodist minister, Rev Dr Lynne Frith, affirmed that Christian support for the bill comes from the
heart of the gospel. “This is a matter both of human rights and gospel justice. Further, common decency demands that the
same rights should apply to all committed relationships. This can only strengthen society as a whole.”
In response to today’s anti civil union statement, Rev Susan Thompson of Hamilton said, “Such conservative voices do
not speak for the majority of Christians in New Zealand.
“As a Christian I believe passionately in the inclusive love of God. This calls me to work for the equality and dignity
of all people. I believe that love is a gift from God. This calls me to celebrate and affirm all faithful committed
“So far the Civil Unions debate has exposed distressing levels of fear, ignorance and even hatred among some parts of
our community toward gay and lesbian people. A public referendum has the potential to generate an even more corrosive
and bitter debate.
”Such churches [Destiny etc] should stop trying to impose a narrow literalist biblical view on our modern diverse
society. We live in a society which accepts and celebrates difference as part of the variety of life.”
Christians for Civil Unions believes that the process is not rushed but has been fair and considered. Consultation
through the Select Committee has been comprehensive and the issue has been publicly discussed for months. The Salvation
Army, in its submission, raised concerns about protecting marriage and families but did not strongly oppose civil
Now it is time for politicians to vote according to their consciences. “We urge them to do so remembering the rights of
New Zealanders, including children living in families with same-sex and de-facto parents, who are seeking recognition
and protection for their relationships,” said spokesperson, Margaret Mayman.