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Wednesday 07 October 2015

“Love is love” – Hague to Catholic leaders

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 23rd August 2012

Kevin Hague
Gay Green MP Kevin Hague says a letter from Catholic Bishops urging ‘Generation Y’ to stand against marriage equality is “confused”.

“It’s not a surprise that the NZ Catholic Bishops have chosen to oppose Louisa Wall’s Bill for marriage equality. After all, they opposed Homosexual Law Reform, they opposed human rights protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and they opposed Civil Unions. I’m beginning to sense a theme,” Hague writes on Frogblog.

He says in the letter, the Bishops assert that the Church should not be able to define marriage, but then proceed, as the Church, to tell not only Church-going Catholics but also the entirety of Generation Y what they should think about the issue and the Bill.

“They also assert that it is not for legislators to define marriage, saying instead that ‘civil law reflects and protects human nature’,” Hague says.

“I respond by saying that there is overwhelming evidence that ‘human nature’ is, in fact, a very broad spectrum, which includes homosexual and bisexual orientation,” he continues.

“The Bishops argue that it is, instead, tradition that should determine what the law says. Well, I accept that there is a relationship between the two, but a causal relationship is nonsensical.

“Consider, for example, some of the Catholic Church’s own traditions. Let’s take torturing and burning heretics as an example. Ought the law to provide for this? Of course not, because the tradition violated fundamental human rights, and because the social culture and values that sustained the tradition have changed,”

Hague points out twice as many New Zealanders support marriage equality as oppose it, while for Generation Y, to whom the Bishops’ letter was addressed, four times as many support as oppose it.

He says despite the official Catechism of the Catholic Church stating: “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their [homosexual persons] regard should be avoided,” the New Zealand Bishops have opposed every initiative proposed to reduce or eliminate discrimination.

“How refreshing it would have been if the Bishops had, instead, said ‘marriage is both a civil contract and, in the eyes of the church, a sacrament. It is our constant belief that the latter has to be between a man and a woman since the validity of sacramental marriage has to be established by consummation. However, over the years thei dea of marriage as a civil contract has developed in many ways (the easy availability of divorce for example). Any opposition to gay marriage, therefore, should be debated on its civil merits without regard to the Church’s religious position which will not be directly affected: is it necessary for justice to all? Is it in any way damaging to the civil contract? We have in the past made clear that while the church disapproves of homosexuality, the individual homosexual must not be discriminated against in any way’.”

Read Kevin Hague’s full blog here

LIVE COVERAGE Daily News will report live from Wednesday's Marriage Equality street march in downtown Wellington and throughout the bill's presentation to Parliament, with team coverage from our journalists and photographers along the march route, within the Parliamentary Press Gallery and amongst the bill's supporters in the public gallery.

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