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Anderton regrets Catholic statements

Tuesday 7 December 2004

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

Anderton regrets Catholic alignment with Destiny Church’s misunderstandings

Progressive leader Jim Anderton today expressed regret at the view outlined in a Catholic bishops' Open Letter on the Civil Union Bill because, he said, it appears to misunderstand the impact and the purposes of the legislation.

"I also believe the letter has unnecessarily associated Catholics, and the Church, alongside the more strident Destiny Church and its very obvious prejudices," the Progressive leader said.

"I recall that some churches led the charge against Homosexual Law Reform in the 1980s, hopefully to their regret later on when they were exposed as bigoted and alarmist. The walls of civilisation did not collapse. The moral issues of life continued to be debated. And more people were able to be openly involved in a more tolerant and less discriminatory society," Jim Anderton said.

"This Bill before Parliament provides a non-discriminatory means of State-recognition of people's choices to live as partners. For those who believe adults are moral individuals before God, this Bill leaves them with the same sorts of moral choices in life that they have always had," Jim Anderton said.

"I find it naive to think that a Bill will end civilisation, or the family, or the sanctity of marriage, or going to Church. Whatever changes are taking place in those areas have their own momentum. The key for a sensible society is to find ways of clarifying the legal relationships that people are forming, and giving them a measure of dignity without discrimination," Jim Anderton said.

"There are moral issues in all personal choices. Of course the Catholic Church wants to express a voice in such things and it has an absolute right to do so. But it is a pity that this voice echoes the Destiny Church's misunderstandings, rather than adding to sensible debate about building partnerships and families with love and dignity. And it is even more of a pity that the some Catholic leaders aligned themselves with the Destiny Church on political and electoral suggestions," the Progressive leader said.

Progressives support laws encouraging long-term, loving relationships where people take responsibility for their actions, their families and their communities, particularly if those same laws reduce discrimination and reinforce the principle of equality in New Zealand society.

ENDS

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