Listening in to the parliamentary debate tonight, and watching the procedure on Television New Zealand, made me proud to be a person of faith, A New Zealander, and an advocate of justice for the LGBT community in our country.
One noted a couple of speakers whose understanding of the call for justice for homosexual people had changed dramatically during the course of the three readings of the Marriage Amendment Bill, which will now allow Same-Sex couples to become legally married within the jurisdiction of New Zealand. It was good to hear of the way ion which they had changed their minds about the validity of homosexuality as an intrinsically acquired sexual orientation that has nothing to do with personal choice, but rather a natural phenomenon in the lives of a minority of human beings.
Both speakers, though, felt that they would have to vote against the Bill, not on account of any inferiority of relationship because of the fact that a couple may be Gay, but because of the need they felt to ‘protect’ the traditional ‘one man/one woman’ basis for the married state. Their vote would not register any disapproval, therefore, of homosexual people, but they would register a negative vote because of what they perceived to be a drastic and unnecessary alteration to the tradition of Marriage.
Those speakers who indicated their support for the Bill were notable for their detailed reasons for their support – mostly based on their personal association with Gay or Lesbian people they knew who longed for the legal protection of marriage – on the same basis as their fellow citizens who were heterosexual. At least one speaker referred to their understanding that this was not, for them. a vote against Christian values; but rather a reminder of the spiritual value of Tolerance, Respect for people different from one’s-self, and Loving acceptance of those who want to commit to a loving. monogamous relationship in their community – without prejudice.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand