Conscience Not Coercion on Gay Marriage – Poll

Media Release 25 March 2013
A poll of New Zealanders has found strong support for amendments to the Marriage Act to protect all celebrants, churches and schools if the same-sex marriage law is passed by politicians – despite the issue splitting the country down the middle.

In the poll of 1,000 people undertaken by Curia Market Research last month, the poll found strong support for protecting those whose beliefs and conscience disagree with same-sex ‘marriage’ if it is redefined:

  • 80% of respondents think marriage celebrants should not be forced to perform same-sex weddings if they go against their personal convictions – 15% saying they should.
  • 73% of respondents believe churches, temples, mosques, and other places of faith should not be required to allow same-sex marriages in their buildings – 21% ofrespondents saying they should.
  • 55% of respondents believe faith-based schools should not be required to teach that same-sex marriage is equal to traditional marriage of a man and a woman – 33% saying they should.
  • 53% oppose requiring individual teachers in state schools to teach same-sex marriage is equal to traditional marriage if it goes against their personal beliefs. 37% believe they should be required to, irrespective of their personal beliefs.

In all scenarios, National voters were most supportive of the protection of conscience.

“There is currently no discrimination towards same-sex couples because of the Relationships (Statutory References) Act 2005 which changed 150-plus pieces of legislation to give legal status to them. If the same-sex marriage bill is passed in its current form, the discrimination will be on people with a conscientious objection,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The Report of the Government Administration Select Committee stated: ‘It is our intention that the passage of this bill should not impact negatively upon people’s religious freedoms… it does not seek to interfere with people’s religious freedoms.’ Yet the advice of the Crown Law Office and the Ministry of Justice and the resultant recommendation of the Select Committee will interfere with people’s rights to act according to their beliefs and conscience.”

“Only 32% of marriages conducted in New Zealand will be conducted by celebrants who may have the benefit of the conscientious exemption in the proposed s5A put forward by the Select Committee, which seriously undercuts the assurances given by MP Louisa Wall to Parliament during the 1st Reading, says Mr McCoskrie.

The Select Committee, by rejecting advice from Crown Law, also considers it to be appropriate that it be unlawful for churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship to refuse to host same-sex ‘marriages’ if the building is normally made available to the public.

“This Bill will provide a culture of coercion whereby celebrants or registrars that don’t fall within the exemptions will not be lawfully able to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage by reason of the same-sex of the couple, despite the politicians promising otherwise,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Despite all the hype and sales pitch, this bill has failed to deliver what was promised, and politicians should vote against it.”

The poll was carried out during February and has a margin of error of 3.2%.



Written by