.- The same-sex marriage debate has moved on to New Zealand and the Catholic Church there is readied for the battle.
The New Zealand Church already began to take action with a letter sent to the countryâs members of Parliament last week. In the letter, dated April 16, Bishop Peter Cullinane of Palmerston North said the Church believed same-sex unions were immoral and that it would oppose laws recognizing same-sex marriage, even if penalized under new legislation, reported the New Zealand Herald.
The Civil Union Bill would create civil unions â a new legal status for same-sex and heterosexual couples â and grant same-sex and common law couples rights similar to marriage that they did not have. However, the bill, which is currently being drafted, would not change laws on marriage. Civil unions already exist in Vermont (U.S.A.) and Quebec (Canada).
Treating marriage as unique is not unjust or discriminatory but âjust acknowledging reality,â the bishop had told National Radio.
The Church does not believe same-sex couples should have children, said Bishop Cullinane.
Members of Parliament will have a conscience vote on the Civil Unions Bill and the Omnibus Bill, which would amend up to 100 other laws that give rights only to marriages sanctioned by the state and Church.
Both bills would be necessary to give same-sex unions legal recognition.