Committee approval for gay marriage bill

NZ Herald 27 Feb 2013
A Parliamentary Select Committee has recommended that a bill to legalise same-sex marriage be passed into law. The Government Administration Committee said the private member’s bill should progress, but with an amendment to make it clear that no minister was obliged to marry someone against their own beliefs. The committee report said: “The bill seeks to extend the legal right to marry to same-sex couples; it does not seek to interfere with people’s religious freedoms.” The Marriage Act would be amended to put beyond doubt that no celebrant recognised by a religious body or nominated by an approved organisation would have to marry a couple if it meant contravening their own, or the organisation’s beliefs.

…Family First has accused the Select Committee’s report of being based on hearing an insufficient number of oral submissions. “National and Labour are ramming this Bill through because they know that their core voter support bases are not happy with it and they are desperate to get it off the political agenda,” Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said. “But in the process they are trampling over the rights of New Zealanders to have their chance to speak up and contribute to the debate on this issue.” He said Family First was seeking legal advice on the effects of the proposed amendment.

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