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New Zealand becomes 12th nation to legalize same-sex marriage

Catholic World News - April 19, 2013

Following a 77-44 legislative vote, New Zealand has become the twelfth nation to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples. The law goes into effect in August.

“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.”

One provision of the legislation states:

no celebrant who is a person nominated to solemnize marriages by an approved organisation, is obliged to solemnize a marriage if solemnizing that marriage would contravene the religious beliefs of the religious body or the religious beliefs or philosophical or humanitarian convictions of the approved organisation.

Other nations that have redefined marriage include Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. In addition, same-sex marriage legislation has passed in Uruguay and awaits the president’s signature.

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