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Marriage a tall poppy which must not be levelled

Media release
29 June 2004

Marriage a tall poppy which must not be levelled

Treating all relationships the same as marriage will make it meaningless for future generations, says Greg Fleming, Managing Director of Maxim Institute.

Fleming sees the passing of the Relationships Bill's first reading today as a chance for a national debate on the benefits and importance of the institution of marriage for society.

"Marriage is foundational to social order. State recognition and privileges conferred on marriage acknowledge its public consequence and benefit."

Treating same-sex and defacto relationships as equivalent to marriage in law undermines marriage by changing the criteria for the legal benefits of marriage from the best interests of children, to meeting the desires of adults.

"These bills send the message that New Zealand does not value the public commitment between a man and a woman for life, any more than relationships which can't naturally produce children and those which aren't committed.

"Furthermore, the Relationships Bill treats all couples the same regardless of their choices. Couples who have chosen not to have the rights and responsibilities of marriage will automatically find they are imposed on them. Effectively it will marry everyone," says Greg Fleming.

"Society cannot afford for the next generation to be mislead into believing that marriage should not be promoted and preferred. For the sake of our children and grandchildren marriage must not be levelled."

"Social science data overwhelming shows that on average marriage provides the best environment in which to produce and raise children. Parliament has its head in the sand if it neglects this evidence and proceeds to legislate to treat different relationships the same."

"There are a handful of legal anomalies which need to be attended to, but the approach of making law 'relationship-neutral' is like taking a sledgehammer to a walnut" says Fleming

Ends.

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