Our Message to Australia – The Consequences of Redefining ‘Marriage’

Compiled by Family First New Zealand
New Zealand redefined marriage in April of 2013 to allow for same-sex marriages. The first weddings were performed in August of that year.

  1. DO IT OR ELSE! – Marriage Celebrants Rejected For Personal Beliefs

People applying to be marriage celebrants are having their applications rejected if they do not want to officiate at same-sex ‘weddings’ due to their personal beliefs or convictions, despite assurances by politicians that this would not occur. In response to a request by Family First NZ to the Department of Internal Affairs under the Official Information Act, 22 potential marriage celebrants have had their applications declined just in the last year because they have stated that they don’t want to officiate at same-sex weddings due to personal conviction. This flies directly in the face of assurances made by Labour MP Louisa Wall when she introduced the bill to Parliament. She said ‘…What my bill does not do is require any person… to carry out a marriage if it does not fit with the beliefs of the celebrant.’ The report of the Government Administration Select Committee considering the bill at the time also 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.’ When the Bill was rushed through to its final reading, it still did not protect the consciences of independent marriage celebrants who are not lawfully able to refuse a request to marry a same-sex couple by reason of the same-sex of the couple.


Ironically, the Registrar-General of Marriages has recently given the right to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to perform marriage ceremonies. Members of the church call themselves Pastafarians and believe that the world was created by an airborne spaghetti and meatballs-based being. The announcement that the church is now allowed to perform weddings was made on the government gazette. Registrar-general Jeff Montgomery defended the decision, saying that it was made on the basis that the organisation promotes religious beliefs.


It is also argued that ministers of mainline denominations, where the denomination changes their policy to allow same-sex weddings, will lose their legal protection to be able to refuse same-sex weddings because the protection is based on the beliefs of the denomination, not the personal belief of the minister.

In an independent poll of 1,000 people just before the law was passed in 2013, the poll found strong support for protecting those whose beliefs and conscience disagreed with same-sex ‘marriage’. 80% of respondents said that marriage celebrants should not be forced to perform same-sex weddings if they go against their personal convictions.


  1. DE-REGISTERED – Charities Promoting Traditional Marriage Targeted

The Charities Board which oversees charitable organisations in NZ is making a second attempt to deregister Family First NZ. Family First was one of the leading groups against the redefinition of marriage in 2013. Family First is going back to the same court to challenge again the belief of the Trust Board that their views about natural marriage and the traditional family “cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable”. This is despite Justice Collins in the earlier decision in the Wellington High Court in 2015 recognising the strength of Family First’s argument that its advocacy for the concept “…of the traditional family is analogous to organisations that have advocated for the ‘mental and moral improvement’ of society.…”

It appears that certain views of marriage and family are now deemed out-of-bounds by the State. Family First will fight that political correctness and muzzling of free speech. If the Charities Board is successful in deregistering Family First, this will have a chilling effect on other groups and churches who hold similar views to Family First. The action by the Charities Board began after one complaint was registered on the day that Family First presented a 50,000-strong petition to Parliament opposing same-sex marriage.



  1. PRESSURED – Venues Either Withdraw Or Are Pressured to Change Policy

During the same-sex marriage debate, the politicians, by rejecting advice from Crown Law, considered it to be appropriate that churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other faith-based organisations and service providers could not refuse to host and provide services for same-sex ‘marriages’, even if it went against their beliefs and conscience. This was despite a poll which found 73% of respondents agreeing that churches, temples, mosques, and other places of faith should not be forced to allow same-sex marriages in their buildings. As a result, a number of churches no longer make their venue available to the general public because of the risk of litigation.

Others have changed their policy. A function centre in the South Island which offers a venue for marriages was pressured in 2016 to change its policy as a result of a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. The venue previously allowed only traditional wedding ceremonies but changed their policy. It is significant that the venue had had previous applications for same-sex weddings which they turned down – there were no complaints – there was no change of policy. It was the ‘pressure’ of the Human Rights Commission complaint and the knowledge that the venue would not be protected by the law if they maintained their current policy that necessitated the urgent review of the policy. Faith-based function centers and camps are in a no-win situation. They can stick to their principles and suffer the consequences of court cases, substantial fines and legal costs, or they can capitulate and change their policies. Yet politicians promised that this pressure would not happen.

Chch venue pressured into allowing s/s weddings Gaynz.com 13 April 2016

In May, a luxury Queenstown wedding venue dropped its ban on gay couples marrying in its on-site chapel. Stoneridge Estate has hosted nearly 100 same-sex wedding ceremonies and receptions but until now, it’s blocked them from taking place in its chapel. Same-sex ceremonies have instead taken place in the gardens and lodge. Owner Wayne Gore says the policy is based on the views of his mother, Da Vella Gore, who holds a lifetime lease over the chapel, which was built in 2004. “We have never not supported same-sex weddings at the property,” he says. ”However, my mother of 80 years old, has held the historic Christian understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman … She believes her wedding chapel has been a gift from God and remains true to her convictions in terms of her Christian faith.” However, after (media outlet) Stuff contacted him on Friday, Gore said his mother conceded her views were “not harmonious with the operating [of] a wedding venue”. “As of now, we will amend our venue contracts, which at this time state that due to my mother’s position she prefers the chapel not be used for same sex weddings. He said no one had ever complained about the policy, but “maybe one couple who have enquired [last] weekend were ‘put out’ by my mother’s position”. A wedding celebrant, who asked to remain anonymous, said policies against same-sex couples were “an issue in wedding venues across the country”.



  1. SUED? – Bakers, Photographers, Florists…

There have been no cases yet that we are aware of where complaints have been made against service providers for refusing to provide their services for a same-sex wedding. We are checking on this. However, we know service providers who will refuse a request due their personal convictions, and will therefore be at risk of litigation.


  1. CATHOLIC SCHOOL – Misrepresented / Threatened For View of Marriage

The principal of Pompallier Catholic College in Whangarei wrote comments in the school newsletter opposing the bill to redefine marriage. A current events programme on the state broadcaster TVNZ was found to be unfair and inaccurate in its coverage of the issue by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA). Close Up, which no longer screens on TV One, said the principal suspended a teacher, and that students who opposed the newsletter comments were “threatened”, both deemed inaccurate by the authority. The principal was not given the chance to rebut the claims. It is disappointing that the state broadcaster saw fit to misrepresent the facts and to show bias against people that were opposed to the redefinition of marriage – but this was not the first time, and not the only current events programme to do so. Unfortunately, much of the debate in sections of the media was slanted towards the pro-same sex marriage side. Fortunately, the general public were able to see the bias in the media, and the campaign opposing redefinition gained more and more support as the debate proceeded.


Threatened: The Labour MP who introduced the bill to redefine marriage made disturbing comments regarding integrated schools who receive government funding and who may disagree with altering the definition of marriage. In comments to a gay website about Northland’s Pompallier Catholic College and comments made by the Principal opposing the bill, Labour MP Louisa Wall said ‘I don’t think in these days of integrated schools and given this school does receive some form of state funding, that advocating against equality and non-discrimination and supporting discriminatory laws is what schools and a principal should be promoting.’


6. GENDER CONFUSION – Birth Certificates To Be Based on Choice of Person

A select committee has just recommended that birth certificates be based on the choice of the person. This means that the certificates will become an object of unscientific gender ideology and effectively tell medical professionals that they got it wrong at time of birth. And just how many genders will be listed. Facebook have more than 70, and counting. A birth certificate is a historical record based on fact – not a political tool to further an agenda. It is disturbing that politicians want to ignore biological reality in favour of an ideology with no scientific backing, and in the process, simply bring about confusion and ambiguity.

(This is the same select committee who attempted to remove husband and wife from marriage certificates during the same-sex marriage debate but were forced to backtrack.)



  1. SCHOOL CONFUSION – Boys can wear skirts, boys can use girls’ toilets

Schools are being urged to offer “gender-neutral” uniform, toilet and changing room options under new guidelines from the secondary teachers’ union. The union, the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA), says both boys and girls should be able to “choose from a range of shorts, trousers, skirts of different lengths and styles, with both tailored and non-tailored interchangeable shirts”. “It is important that access to specific uniform items is not limited on the basis of biological sex or perceived gender identity,” the guidelines say. Family First has issued its own guidelines saying: “No child should be forced into an intimate setting – like a toilet block or a changing room – with another child of the opposite sex.”


Family First NZ has launched a campaign called AskMeFirst in response to the growing trend in both NZ schools and tertiary institutions to allow men to enter women’s spaces — female toilets, showers, changing rooms, camp bunk rooms, and sports teams. The website www.askmefirst.nz highlights a number of situations in NZ schools that have already happened, including an interview with a female from a NZ girls-only school that has allowed biological male to be a student and access any toilet in the school.

WATCH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLXj2vtLwkM


  1. YOU’RE TEACHING MY CHILD WHAT? – Gender Ideology for 5-year-olds

Most schools along with the parents in the school community will rightly reject the extreme elements of the new sexuality education guidelines released by the National government in 2015. Based on the guidelines, primary school children as young as 5 will be indoctrinated with issues around ‘gender stereotypes and norms’, ‘sexuality and gender well-being’, ‘gender, sexuality and diversity’, and ‘gender and sexuality messages’. Parents will object to programmes targeted at children as young as five undermining the role and values of parents, and resources which fail to take into account the emotional and physical development of each child and the values of that particular family.




  1. DEMAND – Minimal Interest for Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

Three years on from the definition of marriage being changed, statistics show that the demand has been insignificant, and has had to be boosted by overseas couples which represent almost half of all same-sex ‘marriages’ during this period. There have been 58,540 traditional marriages of NZ residents during a three-year period since the law was changed. Same-sex marriages during that time for NZ’ers were 1,422 representing just over 2% of total marriages – despite claims of a huge demand for same-sex marriage. During the same three-year period, there were 1,260 ‘tourist’ same-sex ceremonies.



  1. POLYGAMY – Claims That Government Is Turning Blind Eye

The issue has come to light earlier this year with a serious domestic violence case where the offender is legally married to the victim, with whom he has three New Zealand-born children, as well as a second “wife” whom he married in a religious ceremony. There is concern that immigrants or refugees who enter New Zealand in existing polygamous marriages are not being held to New Zealand’s legal definition of marriage, and that benefit-eligibility rules may be being ignored. This indicates that the government may be indirectly endorsing polygamists arrangements. In an Official Information Act response, the Ministry of Social Development said: “Multiple marriages are not recognised under the Social Security Act and should such a circumstance arise where a person applied for a benefit with multiple ‘wives’, the Ministry would only be able to treat one wife as being married to the man (or to be living in a relationship in the nature of marriage with the man) at any one time. As such the other ‘wives’ would be regarded for benefit purposes as being either single or sole parents, depending on their individual circumstances.” (our emphasis added). However, second (or third or more) polygamous wives are living in ‘the nature of marriage’. The Ministry needs to explain why these females are not subject to the same investigation processes and fraud prosecutions as all other females. Additionally, why is the husband not subject to new laws that hold the partner of a fraudulent sole parent equally liable to prosecution?


In 2002, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported that:
“New Zealand legislation gives a mixed message about what State counts as family. For example… only the male and one wife from a polygamous family are allowed to immigrate to New Zealand. There is an increasing recognition of the need to avoid enshrining in legislation concepts of family which are exclusive.”

And former Minister of Social Development, Labour’s Ruth Dyson, said in a speech in 2008 that:
“We must cater for the diversity, we know exists. By this I mean the range of relationships from single, couples, triples, blended, de facto, and so on. That’s where we’re going with social policy.”

In 2014, it was revealed that Auckland ratepayers were subsidising an event promoting polyamory for those who want to ‘relate to more than one partner’ and non-monogamous marriages. The event received an Auckland Council grant from the Community Development and Safety Committee, and is entitled “Poly Panel, Discussions around Queer PolyamoryA one day event exploring a framework of ethical, healthy polyamory relationships.”


The media have also featured articles promoting polygamy / polyamory marriage.


  1. POLLS – Confirmed NO Mandate For Redefining Marriage

A NZ Herald poll just before the law was changed confirmed the support for changing the definition of marriage steadily dropped during the debate. New Zealanders got past the slogans of ‘marriage equality’ and ‘discrimination’ and the debate centered around facts, such as the real purpose and role of marriage, and the fact that there is actually no discrimination in the law currently. Politicians pushing the bill quoted a TVNZ poll from the previous year with 2/3’rds support for gay marriage as justification for changing the definition. But all the later polling shows that the earlier polling was not reliable. A Family First-commissioned poll of 1,000 people in 2013 found a similar split to the NZ Herald poll, with only 47% agreeing that Parliament should change the definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry and 43% saying that they believed civil unions were sufficient. This echoes a similar slide in polling by Research NZ which showed support for ‘same-sex marriage’ dropping to less than 50%, down 11% from a similar poll in 2011. The online poll from the NZ Herald (shown right) confirms just how split the country was.



  1. POLITICAL U-TURNS – Be Careful What They Say

HELEN CLARK (Labour): NZ Herald June 21 (2004) “Should people who want to have legal recognition of a marriage be able to get it? The Government says yes, but you can’t marry. Marriage is only for heterosexuals. The Government is not — underline — not, changing the Marriage Act. That will remain as an option only for heterosexual couples.

TIM BARNETT (Gay Labour MP): 1st Reading Civil Unions Bill (2004) “The Civil Union Bill is an acceptable alternative; marriage can remain untouched.”

METIRIA TUREI (Green): 1st Reading Civil Unions Bill (2004) “Marriage as understood in our society, and as formalised in law, is a specific culturally and historically bound institution. …This bill does not affect the Marriage Act. It does not change in any way the structure, the validity, of the institution of marriage.”

JOHN KEY (National): (2006)Marriage is an institution of the church, I don’t think it is necessary to have that label put on every relationship.” 2008I don’t think there’s a real need to change the current legislation or to adopt new legislation.”

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