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The ‘Marriage Equity’ Bill


The ‘Marriage Equity’ Bill

As concerned Pacific people, we call on all leaders and members of the New Zealand Pacific community to engage respectfully and sensitively with one another in the exchanges of views over the Marriage Equity Bill currently before the New Zealand Parliament.

The Bill, in essence, is seeking to end the discrimination against same-sex marriages in the Marriage Act of 1955.

This is not an attack on the institution of marriage or the traditional values of Pacific people. Rather, it is advocating for the fundamental right and choice of every New Zealander in a loving and honourable relationship to formally and legally marry.

As Pacific people dedicated to the wellbeing of our New Zealand community, we believe the bill is an important step in ‘putting right a wrong’ which over many years has deeply hurt, marginalised and treated many New Zealanders, including some in the Pacific community, as second class citizens. We believe, quite simply, such laws that discriminate or treat people unfairly have no place in New Zealand and must be challenged.

It is highly unfortunate recent events and public pronouncements in the media have caused misunderstanding and stirred fear within our churches and communities. In our view, such fears are misplaced. The spiritual integrity of churches and communities will continue as always. Any resultant change in the Marriage Act, 1955, will not necessarily impact on integrity and work of our leaders of churches and community.

Understanding these aspects of the debate, amongst others, is vitally important for us going forward.

To this end, we would encourage our Pacific community to engage in the conversations and dialogue over the Marriage Equity Bill over the coming weeks. The first of planned public meetings will be held at St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, 65 Jervois Road, Herne Bay, Ponsonby, 7pm. We would dearly welcome your participation.

Signed and endorsed by:

Rev Uesifili Unasa

Chaplain, The University of Auckland

Chairperson, Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel, Auckland Council

Melino Maka,

Tongan Advisory Council

Peseta Betty Sio,

Chief Executive, Pacific Islands Safety & Prevention Project

Charles Chauvel MP

Labour Party Spokesperson for Justice

Alfred Filipaina

Councillor, Auckland Council

14th August, 2012


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