Title: Arguments against Civil Unions echo opposition to inter-racial marriage Credit: Margaret Mayman Features Wednesday 8th September 2004 - 12:00pm1094601600 Article: 401 Rights
Margaret Mayman Recognition of same sex and de facto couples is the next historic step towards a more just society but sadly many of the anti-civil unions rhetoric echo the arguments against legalizing inter-racial marriage, which was also once considered ungodly and unnatural. In my submission today on behalf of Christians for Civil Unions, a broad Christian network that supports the law change I told the Select Committee on the Civil Union and Relationships Bill that the arguments used by opponents to civil unions were the same religious and social claims used to oppose inter-racial marriages in the United States in the 1960s. They argued that God created the races separate and did not intend for them to mix and that inter-racial marriage would disrupt society and the sanctity of marriage. Citing the US Supreme court case of Loving vs Virginia which overturned laws against inter-racial marriage in 1968 I felt it was important to remind the Select Committee that apparently reasonable people argued at the time on grounds that now seem incomprehensible but were then considered both biblical and common sense. I believe that there will come a day when people will look back on the civil union debate with similar incredulity. Christians for Civil Unions, a group I am involved with and act as a spokesperson for, includes a wide range of Christian individuals, congregations, and church leaders from the Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian Churches and includes Maori, Pakeha, Pacifica and other immigrant people. Our submission also addressed the narrow biblical interpretation cited by some people opposed to the bills. While there are six passages of scripture that condemn homosexual acts, it is important to recognise that homosexual orientation was unknown in biblical times. The biblical writers assumed that everyone was heterosexual and that people engaging in homosexual acts were going against their God-given nature. Christians for Civil Unions believes that the Bible is far more concerned about peace and economic justice than it is about regulation of sexuality. Civil Unions will have real benefits for society through the legal protection and social recognition for same sex and de facto couples and social acceptance for children from diverse families. Margaret Mayman - 8th September 2004    
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