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NZ bishops criticize same-sex marriage law

22 April, 2013 - As New Zealand became the 13th nation in the world to legalise same-sex marriage last week, the country’s Catholic bishops lashed out at the decision as ‘bizarre’ that discarded something essential to human nature and every culture. Seventy-seven of 121 members of parliament voted on April 17 in favour of amending the current 1955 Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry, making New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so. The previous week Uruguay passed its own law. Australia last year rejected a similar proposal. “We find it bizarre that what has been discarded is an understanding of marriage that has its origin in human nature and common to every culture, and that almost all references to husband and wife will be removed from legislation referencing marriage,” said Archbishop John Dew of Wellington, president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. “Marriage is the essential human institution that predates religion and state,” he added. “It is a committed union between a man and a woman which has a natural orientation towards the procreation of new human life.”