Marriage Celebrants Will Be Sacked Despite Political Assurances

Media Release 22 June 2018
Family First NZ says that marriage celebrants will be sacked if they refuse to marry a same-sex couple, despite the fact that it goes against their personal convictions, despite the fact that they may have been registered well before the same-sex marriage law was even passed, and despite assurances from politicians that this would not happen.

The Celebrants Association of NZ has told celebrants in their latest newsletter that “Independent Marriage Celebrants who refuse to marry couples because they are the same gender, will lose their registration.”

“This means that the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages is now targeting existing celebrants and not just new applicants for their beliefs. Almost 50 new marriage celebrant applicants have had their application rejected in just the past 2½ years simply because they do not want to officiate at same-sex weddings due to their personal beliefs or convictions. 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.’ During the 3rd Reading, she told the public that the bill ‘does not force any minister or celebrant to marry a couple against his or her wishes’,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The report of the Government Administration Select Committee considering the bill at the time 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.’”

2017 NZ Herald online poll

2017 NZ Herald online poll

“This law currently provides a culture of coercion. Politicians who support the right of freedom of belief and conviction should fix the anomaly.”

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act states that everybody has the right of freedom of religion and belief, and the right to manifest that belief or view. A legal opinion obtained by Family First about the effects of the proposed law change said; “Such coercion by the State is contrary to ss13 and 15 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.”

In an independent poll of 1,000 people undertaken by Curia Market Research just before the bill 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.


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