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Read bill first, Catholic Church told

Wed 21 Apr 2004 In: New Zealand Daily News

A Wellington organisation representing gay and lesbian professionals has criticised the Catholic Bishops' Conference of New Zealand for condemning the Civil Union Bill before it has even seen it or know what is in it. "It certainly comes as news to us that the Catholic Church seriously wishes to debate these issues, given that the one group the present Pope has always refused to talk with is gay people," says GAP spokesman Antony Reed. "Our sexuality is one basic aspect of our humanity, and cannot be separated out in this cynical manner by the Vatican, nor by anybody else. We can only be grateful that the legal scope of human rights as applied to sexual orientation is decided in New Zealand by Courts and not by the Catholic Church." The Bishops' comments that they really do value the rights of homosexual people, and that they cannot therefore be accused of homophobia, have also fallen on stony ground with GAP. "Even the basic legal right of allowing gay people to have sexual relationships in private without the fear of prosecution is not considered a human right in the Vatican. The Church has confirmed this by opposing law reform, not only in New Zealand in 1986, but more recently in Tasmania in 1997 (where they were the only mainstream church to do so)."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 21st April 2004 - 12:00pm

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