Stuff.co.nz 27 July 2012
OPINION: Despite the often-heard, throwaway comment that marriage is “just a piece of paper”, the overwhelming evidence would suggest that this is not so. According to the Statistics Department, in the past five years there were 106,131 marriages in New Zealand – 8000 per cent more than the number of civil unions. Marriage between men and women is still by far the most preferred relationship in society. It is with this evidence and historical and sociological background in mind that we, the undersigned Marlborough church leaders, write in support of marriage. Not only is marriage between men and women a treasured relationship in society, it is guarded by law as such. Monogamy is rightly preferred above all other sorts of relationship because of the emotional, psychological and social benefits it brings to families and society. The complementary nature of men and women is the foundation for security and well-being in relationships, and by extension the family and society. Marriage is an inter-generational, social institution that shapes social order. Some would argue that other forms of relationship are equally valid because they constitute loving and committed relationships. This is an incidental argument. The crux of the matter is not only that relationships be loving and committed, but that marriage between men and women benefits children, communities and society in ways that other forms of relationship do not. If New Zealand wants to be a strong and healthy society for future generations then our civil laws must continue to protect marriage between men and women as a preferred relationship with special status over and above other relationships that are tolerated and/or prohibited. This is what New Zealand civil law must continue to do.