MP Attempting To Muzzle Free Speech on Marriage

Media Release 12 August 2012
Family First NZ is shocked and disappointed to hear that a Labour MP has sent a veiled threat to a pro-marriage organisation in an apparent attempt to muzzle them.

“Labour MP Charles Chauvel responded to a respectful letter from the family organization Right to Life regarding the Marriage Amendment bill by demanding a copy of the group’s rules so that he could ‘satisfy himself of its mandate to comment on this issue.’ Our simple question is – has he also sent this same demand to churches such as St Matthew’s in the City in Auckland, and the AIDS Foundation who are also actively lobbying for the bill,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This seems like a thinly veiled threat to muzzle a pro-marriage group who he may personally disagree with, and perhaps even attempt to get them de-registered from the Charities Commission.”

“We are shocked and disappointed at this response. Any group or organisation has a right to speak up on an issue. Who they are and what they stand for are all part of that message.”

“On an issue as important as marriage, and in a free democratic country, it is alarming that a member of Parliament would use this tone. Is this approach accepted by the leadership of the Labour party?” says Mr McCoskrie.

“For the sake of a robust healthy debate on the role and function of marriage, we hope that the response from the MP was an exception to the rule.”

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