I have been keeping up with cases overseas, mostly in the United States, where people’s religious freedom has been infringed because they do not wish to participate in a same-sex “wedding”. Photographers, bakers, venue hosts and others have been sued because they will not provide their services, which they provide to heterosexual couples, to a same-sex couple, as it goes against their religious beliefs.
Now, the debate has made it to New Zealand. A function centre in Lyttleton (near Christchurch) has changed their policy on hosting same-sex weddings after a complaint was filed with the Human Rights Commission. The news article can be viewed here. I should note that the business is not explicity Christian but according to the article it does have an “evangelical Christian background”.
Under the Human Rights act of New Zealand, it is forbidden to discriminate against potential customers, meaning that if you allow straight couples to hire it for a wedding, you must also allow homosexual couples to hire it.
When the same-sex “marriage” bill was being pushed through Parliament, the Select Committee charged with the bill said the following: “It is our intention that the passage of this bill should not impact negatively upon people’s religious freedoms… The bill seeks to extend the legal right to marry to same-sex couples; it does not seek to interfere with people’s religious freedoms.’”
While marriage celebrants are exempt from performing marriages that contravene their religious beliefs, such freedom apparently doesn’t seem to extend to those in the wedding industry. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the function centre had not changed its views. Or what would happen in a similar situation when Christian business owners are put in the same situation.
What people don’t get is that Christian business owners who refuse to offer their services for a same-sex “wedding” are not discriminating against homosexuals. They are objecting to taking part in a same-sex so-called “wedding”. I’m sure that the wedding photographers in the United States, for instance, would have no problem taking a graduation photo of a homosexual. They just object to taking part in a ceremony that they goes against their beliefs.
For an analysis of the event from a conservative viewpoint, see lobby group Family First New Zealand’s take.
Let’s hope we don’t get to the point that it has gotten to in Canada and parts of the US where people are facing repercussions for voicing their objections to same-sex “marriage”. Pray that we Christians in New Zealand will still have our religious freedom.
Note: I personally have nothing against homosexuals. I don't hate them. But I do believe that what they are doing is sinful, just like I believe that a heterosexual couple who aren't married but are having sex are sinning. Therefore I want them all to come to Jesus and place their trust in Him for the forgiveness of their sins.