Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Forced marriage claims judged "a non-event"

Wed 5 Sep 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News

File photo A human rights lawyer says claims that a change to the marriage law would force clergy to perform marriages between gay and lesbian couples are “a legal fog”. A legal opinion obtained by conservative anti-gay group Family First from barrister Ian Bassett, and backed by Grant Illingworth QC, claims church ministers would breach the Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act, “if they refused to perform their public function as marriage celebrants by reason of the same sex of a couple seeking to be married”, under Louisa Wall’s proposed marriage equality bill. Human rights lawyer David Ryken has released his opinion on the issue through liberal Auckland church St-Matthew-in-the-City, in which he state no priest or minister of religion will be obliged to carry out a sacramental or religious ceremony with which they do not agree, or which is not permitted or allowed in their religion or denomination. “Who would have a ceremony with someone not in agreement with such a marriage, in any event? The issue is a non-event,” he says. “It is not the case that the amendment will force priests or ministers to act against their own consciences or against their own beliefs. That is a legal fog.” The Human Rights Commission is of the same opinion as Ryken. Both have already pointed out the law does prohibit discrimination when proving services to the public, such as hiring out a hall – unless that hall is for the exclusive use of church members. “It will depend on the facts,” Ryken says, later adding:“Discrimination is not permitted unless there is a totally closed club.” You can read David Ryken’s full legal opinion here    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 5th September 2012 - 10:35am

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us