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gay marriage In support: St Heliers Presbyterian Church minister Pauline Stewart sees nothing wrong with gay marriage and adoption.
Photos: KARINA ABADIA
Traditional view: Remuera Baptist Church pastor Warren Prestidge believes a
male and female make up the natural family unit.
Go to eastandbayscourier.
co.nz to see Labour MP
Louisa Wall speaking at a
Marriage Equality Rally.
God said I am love'. That's the
most freeing, amazing concept.
By KARINA ABADIA
I think children have a right,
where possible, to be brought up
by a parent of each gender.
THEY say homosexuals are wel-
come but many East Auckland
church leaders are sticking to their
traditional stance by opposing gay
marriage and adoption.
The East & Bays Courier contac-
ted 15 church leaders from St
Heliers to Pan-
mure to gauge
Labour MP Louisa
passed its first
reading on August
29.Seven of the
church leaders contacted are
against the bill, three support it and
five declined to comment.
The bill, if passed, will legalise
gay marriage and therefore enable
gay adoption. Married same-sex
couples would be included in the
definition of a spouse (or marital
partner) who is legally entitled to
apply for adoption under the Adop-
tion Act 1955.
Remuera Baptist Church pastor
Warren Prestidge is against same-
I believe the reason societies for
generations have created a mar-
riage law is to defend, affirm and
I'm not in
favour of homo-
I think chil-
dren have a
right, where possible, to be brought
up by a parent of each gender. I
don't think a law that promotes
homosexual couples adopting chil-
dren is appropriate.''
Mount Wellington Community
Church pastor Russell Grainger
We are opposed to homosexuality
in the same way we're opposed to
people stealing from their work.
But we recognise that everyone
falls short of perfection and that's
why the church and God are here.
We don't exclude people.''
On the topic of gay adoption he
says the ideal situation is for chil-
dren to be brought up in a stable
loving home with good male and
female role models''.
Saint Heliers Presbyterian
Church minister Pauline Stewart
To me commitment in love is
about the most beautiful thing that
two people, whatever sex they are,
could find. Woe betide anyone who
would stand in the way of that.
I think God said I am love'.
That's the most freeing, amazing
concept and sometimes the church
hasn't got it.''
She says the Bible is not meant to
be taken literally.
Love lasts forever, love never
fails. That's a higher order to follow
than being someone who has to
keep going back to rules to see
Mrs Stewart sees nothing wrong
with gay adoption and is a pastor to
a lesbian couple who adopted a
I call them my friends and I
think their little girl is excelling and
Newmarket's Spiritual Alliance
president Elizabeth Pretty is also in
We base the philosophy of spiri-
tualism on the power of love. On
that basis we couldn't possibly be
against the bill.''
She sees no reason why gay
people adopting children should not
In cases of adoption, couples are
well and truly vetted and I would
imagine same-sex marriages would
be subject to the same rules.''
Vicar Di Woods of Saint Aidan's
Anglican Church in Remuera says
their stance is the traditional one
but they recognise that times are
changing and are considering their
The bill was discussed at a gath-
ering of Auckland's Anglican church
leaders on September 8 and 9.
As Anglicans we are agreed that
the topic is highly relevant. It is one
we want to be able to talk through
carefully. That's going to be a pro-
cess that will take a year or two but
we are certainly sympathetic
towards people who would like us to
rethink our definition of marriage.''
Reverend Elder Leiite Setefano
from Pacific Islanders Presbyterian
Church Tamaki is against the bill.
In our culture we will never con-
done this sort of union and we will
never see gay marriage happen in
Samoa. We accept gay people in our
churches but for them to get mar-
ried is another thing altogether.
I would not accept gay adoption
either. A child should have a father
and a mother.''
The bill is being considered by a
select committee and must pass two
further votes before becoming law.
MP EXPLAINS HIS VOTE AGAINST BILL
By ESTHER LAUAKI
Online debate over the Marriage
Equality bill has also highlighted
division within political parties.
Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga
was one of a minority of members
who voted against the bill at its first
reading in Parliament last month.
The bill was passed by 80 votes to
A wave of feedback on Mr Lotu-
Iiga's vote ensued both online and
over the phone.
He explained in a statement that
his office sent 46,000 direct mail
surveys to residents in his
electorate and received 2000
Of those, more people opposed
the gay marriage bill than were in
favour of it. Many respondents also
opposed gay adoption, he says.
Jobs, economic growth, rates,
safer communities, and health and
education were of more concern to
those who responded.
There were more than 50
messages on the National MP's
Facebook page in response to his
decision to vote against the bill.
One Maungakiekie voter posted:
''You've lost my vote Sam'' while
another post described Mr Lotu-
Iiga's stand as ''courageous''.
In total he received more than
1100 emails, tweets, Facebook
messages and phone calls about
the bill. ''It is clear that there are
divergent views on this issue.
These exist in my own party, in the
communities I represent, as well
as within my own family.
''I do not believe this is an issue
solely in the domain of faith-based
and gay and lesbian groups. My
upbringing in Mangere and
Onehunga as a Samoan New
Zealander with a Christian faith and
conservative values has also
influenced my decision.
''I have found more questions
than answers to how the bill will
work and its long-term implications
for New Zealand society,'' he says.
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