New Zealand redefined marriage in April of 2013 to allow for same-sex marriages. The first weddings were performed in August of that year. Now people applying to be marriage celebrants are having their applications rejected if they do not want to officiate at same-sex ‘weddings’ due to their personal beliefs or convictions, despite assurances by politicians that this would not occur. The Department of Internal Affairs advise that 22 potential marriage celebrants have had their applications declined just in the last year because they have stated that they don’t want to officiate at same-sex weddings due to personal conviction. This flies directly in the face of assurances made by Labour MP Louisa Wall when she introduced the bill to Parliament. She said ‘What my bill does not do is require any person to carry out a marriage if it does not fit with the beliefs of the celebrant.’

The report of the Government Administration Select Committee considering the bill at the time stated: ‘It is not our intention to interfere with, nor negatively impact upon, people’s religious freedoms.’ When the Bill was rushed through to its final reading, it still did not protect the consciences of independent marriage celebrants who are not lawfully able to refuse a request to marry a same-sex couple. Ironically, the Registrar-General of Marriages has recently given the right to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to perform marriage ceremonies. Members of the church believe that the world was created by an airborne spaghetti and meatballs-based being. Registrar-general Jeff Montgomery defended the decision, saying that it was made on the basis that the organisation promotes religious beliefs.

It is also argued that ministers of mainline denominations, where the denomination changes their policy to allow same-sex weddings, will lose their legal protection to be able to refuse same-sex weddings because the protection is based on the beliefs of the denomination, not the personal belief of the minister. In an independent poll of 1,000 people just before the law was passed in 2013, the poll found strong support for protecting those whose beliefs and conscience disagreed with same-sex ‘marriage’. 80% of respondents said that marriage celebrants should not be forced to perform same-sex weddings if they go against their personal convictions. The Charities Board which oversees charitable organisations in NZ is making a second attempt to deregister Family First NZ. Family First was one of the leading groups against the redefinition of marriage in 2013.

Family First is going back to court to challenge the Trust Board that their views about natural marriage and the traditional family “cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way accepted as charitable”. This is despite Justice Collins in the earlier decision in 2015 recognising the strength of Family First’s argument that its advocacy for the concept “of the traditional family is analogous to organisations that advocate for the ‘mental and moral improvement’ of society”. It appears that certain views of marriage and family are now deemed out-of-bounds by the State. If the Charities Board is successful in deregistering Family First, it will have a chilling effect on other groups who hold similar views to Family First. The action by the Charities Board began after one complaint registered on the day that Family First presented a 50,000-strong petition to Parliament opposing same-sex marriage.

During the same-sex marriage debate, the politicians, by rejecting advice from Crown Law, considered it to be appropriate that churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other faith-based organisations and service providers could not refuse to host and provide services for same-sex ‘marriages’, even if it went against their beliefs and conscience. This was despite a poll which found 73% of respondents agreeing that churches, temples, mosques, and other places of faith should not be forced to allow same-sex marriages in their buildings. As a result, a number of churches no longer make their venue available to the general public because of the risk of litigation. Others have changed their policy. A function centre in the South Island which offers a venue for marriages was pressured in 2016 to change its policy as a result of a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

The venue previously allowed only traditional wedding ceremonies but changed their policy. It is significant that the venue had had previous applications for same-sex weddings which they turned down without there being any complaints. It was the ‘pressure’ of the Human Rights Commission complaint and the knowledge that the venue would not be protected by the law if they maintained their current policy that necessitated the urgent review of the policy. Faith-based function centres and camps are in a no-win situation. They can stick to their principles and suffer the consequences of court cases, substantial fines and legal costs, or they can capitulate and change their policies. Yet politicians promised that this pressure would not happen.

In May, a luxury Queenstown wedding venue dropped its ban on gay couples marrying in its on-site chapel. Stoneridge Estate has hosted nearly 100 same-sex wedding ceremonies and receptions but until now, it’s blocked them from taking place in its chapel. Same-sex ceremonies have instead taken place in the gardens and lodge. Owner Wayne Gore says the policy is based on the views of his mother, Da Vella Gore, who holds a lifetime lease over the chapel, which was built in 2004. “We have never not supported same-sex weddings at the property,” he says. “However, my mother of 80 years old, has held the historic Christian understanding of marriage as the loving, faithful union of a man and a woman. She believes her wedding chapel has been a gift from God and remains true to her convictions in terms of her Christian faith.”

However, after the media contacted him, Gore said his mother conceded her views were “not harmonious with the operating of a wedding venue”. “We will therefore amend our venue contracts, which state that due to my mother’s position she prefers the chapel not be used for same sex weddings. He said no one had ever complained about the policy, but “maybe one couple who have enquired were ‘put out’ by my mother’s position”. One wedding celebrant said policies against same-sex couples were “an issue in wedding venues across the country”. There have been no cases yet that we are aware of where complaints have been made against service providers for refusing to provide their services for a same-sex wedding. We are checking on this. However, we know service providers who will refuse a request due their personal convictions, and will therefore be at risk of litigation.

The principal of Pompallier Catholic College in Whangarei wrote comments in the school newsletter opposing the bill to redefine marriage. A current events programme on the state broadcaster was found to be unfair and inaccurate in its coverage of the issue by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA). It is disappointing that the state broadcaster saw fit to misrepresent the facts and to show bias against people that were opposed to the redefinition of marriage, but this was not the first time, and not the only current events programme to do so. Unfortunately, much of the debate in sections of the media was slanted towards the pro-same sex marriage side. Fortunately, the general public were able to see the bias in the media, and the campaign opposing redefinition gained more and more support as the debate proceeded.

The Labour MP who introduced the bill to redefine marriage made disturbing comments regarding integrated schools who receive government funding and who may disagree with altering the definition of marriage. In comments to a homosexual website about Pompallier Catholic College and comments made by the Principal opposing the bill, Labour MP Louisa Wall said ‘I don’t think in these days of integrated schools and given this school does receive some form of state funding, that advocating against equality and non-discrimination and supporting discriminatory laws is what schools and a principal should be promoting.’  A select committee has just recommended that birth certificates be based on the choice of the person. This means that the certificates will become an object of unscientific gender ideology and effectively tell medical professionals that they got it wrong at time of birth.

How many genders will be listed? Facebook have more than 70, and counting. A birth certificate is a historical record based on fact, not a political tool to further an agenda. It is disturbing that politicians want to ignore biological reality in favour of an ideology with no scientific backing, and in the process, simply bring about confusion and ambiguity. This is the same select committee who attempted to remove husband and wife from marriage certificates during the same-sex marriage debate but were forced to backtrack. Schools are being urged to offer “gender-neutral” uniform, toilet and changing room options under new guidelines from the secondary teachers’ union. The union, the Post Primary Teachers’ Association says both boys and girls should be able to “choose from a range of shorts, trousers, skirts of different lengths and styles, with both tailored and non-tailored interchangeable shirts”.

“It is important that access to specific uniform items is not limited on the basis of biological sex or perceived gender identity,” the guidelines say. Family First has issued its own guidelines saying: “No child should be forced into an intimate setting, like a toilet block or a changing room, with another child of the opposite sex.” Family First NZ has launched a campaign called AskMeFirst in response to the growing trend in both NZ schools and tertiary institutions to allow men to enter women’s spaces, female toilets, showers, changing rooms, camp bunk rooms, and sports teams. The website highlights a number of situations in NZ schools that have already happened, including an interview with a female from a NZ girls-only school that has allowed a biological male to be a student and access any toilet in the school.

Most schools along with the parents in the school community will rightly reject the extreme elements of the new sexuality education guidelines released by the National government in 2015. Based on the guidelines, primary school children as young as 5 will be indoctrinated with issues around ‘gender stereotypes and norms’, ‘sexuality and gender well-being and diversity’, and ‘gender and sexuality messages’. Parents will object to programmes targeted at children as young as five undermining the role and values of parents, and resources which fail to take into account the emotional and physical development of each child and the values of that particular family. Three years on from the definition of marriage being changed, statistics show that the demand has been insignificant, and has had to be boosted by overseas couples which represent almost half of all same-sex ‘marriages’ during this period.

There have been 58,540 traditional marriages of NZ residents during a three-year period since the law was changed. Same-sex marriages during that time for NZ’ers were 1,422 representing just over 2% of total marriages, despite claims of a huge demand for same-sex marriage. During the same three-year period, there were 1,260 ‘tourist’ same-sex ceremonies. The issue has come to light earlier this year with a serious domestic violence case where the offender is legally married to the victim, with whom he has three New Zealand-born children, as well as a second “wife” whom he married in a religious ceremony. There is concern that immigrants or refugees who enter New Zealand in existing polygamous marriages are not being held to New Zealand’s legal definition of marriage, and that benefit-eligibility rules may be being ignored.

This indicates that the government may be indirectly endorsing polygamists arrangements. In an Official Information Act response, the Ministry of Social Development said: “Multiple marriages are not recognised under the Social Security Act and should such a circumstance arise where a person applied for a benefit with multiple ‘wives’, the Ministry would only be able to treat one wife as being married to the man at any one time. As such the other ‘wives’ would be regarded for benefit purposes as being either single or sole parents, depending on their individual circumstances.” The Ministry needs to explain why these females are not subject to the same investigation processes and fraud prosecutions as all other females. Additionally, why is the husband not subject to new laws that hold the partner of a fraudulent sole parent equally liable to prosecution?

In 2002, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported that: “New Zealand legislation gives a mixed message about what State counts as family. For example, only the male and one wife from a polygamous family are allowed to immigrate to New Zealand. There is an increasing recognition of the need to avoid enshrining in legislation concepts of family which are exclusive.” And former Minister of Social Development, Labour’s Ruth Dyson, said in a speech in 2008 that: “We must cater for the diversity, we know exists. By this I mean the range of relationships from single, couples, triples, blended, de facto, and so on. That’s where we’re going with social policy.” In 2014, it was revealed that Auckland ratepayers were subsidising an event promoting polyamory for those who want to ‘relate to more than one partner’ and non-monogamous marriages.

A NZ Herald poll just before the law was changed confirmed the support for changing the definition of marriage steadily dropped during the debate. New Zealanders got past the slogans of ‘marriage equality’ and ‘discrimination’ and the debate centred around the real purpose and role of marriage, and the fact that there was no discrimination in the current law.  Politicians pushing the bill quoted a poll from the previous year with 2/3rds support for same-sex marriage as justification for changing the definition. But all the later polling shows that the earlier polling was not reliable. A Family First-commissioned poll of 1,000 people in 2013 found a similar split to the NZ Herald poll, with only 47% agreeing that Parliament should change the definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry and 43% saying that they believed civil unions were sufficient.

Source: Family First New Zealand

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Forty-one families have pulled 73 children from the elite Sacramento-area Rocklin Academy charter schools as the board continues to defend a kindergarten transgender lesson several parents say traumatized their 5-year-olds and that parents weren’t told about beforehand. A mother who pulled her son and daughter from Rocklin Academy Gateway, where the incident took place, has kept a tally of parents who’ve done likewise. “It was just the tipping point for most families,” the parent, who asked her name not be published, told LifeSiteNews. Some parents pulled their kids “solely for this,” while others had “multiple reasons, but this was part of everyone’s reason,” she said. The controversy erupted after a lesson in which the boy appeared in girl’s clothes and was reintroduced to his kindergarten classmates as a girl.

A number of parents are upset because they weren’t told about the lesson that has left their children disturbed and afraid. It’s still not clear what happened in the classroom because Swaney and the board refused to tell parents, and the board’s account differs from what a number of five-year-olds told their parents. What appear to be “inaccuracies” in the board’s accounts “make us feel betrayed as parents,” she said. The board and administration “didn’t talk to the parents of the children in the class to get the story.” The board claimed that it didn’t have to tell parents about lessons on gender identity because it wasn’t sex education. California law requires parental notification and allows opt out for sex education. The board claims not affirming the five-year-old boy’s transition to a “girl” will leave it open to lawsuits because California bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

The 5 member board has unanimously rejected a proposal to allow opt-out for lessons on gender identity and parental review of sensitive material before it hits the classroom. The board did approve a policy directing teachers to try to let parents know beforehand that sensitive material would be taught, but the measure is “really weak” according to Greg Burt of the California Family Council. “At every board meeting, the administration seemed very adversarial to the parents,” according to the parent who spoke to LifeSiteNews. But the August 21 meeting was the deal-breaker for her. That’s when a number of teachers defended Swaney, she said. “They were saying, ‘your kids will surprise you, the’re so accepting and loving, this is a great topic for kindergarteners to learn.’ They were there to tell us parents to get out of the way,” she said.

“It’s very tense over there right now.” she said. “You don’t know who to trust.” With the board voting to continue enforcing transgender ideology, more parents will be leaving, Burt predicted. That’s echoed by Karen England, executive director of parents’ rights group Capitol Resource Institute, which authored the parent proposal the board rejected. “Several families are waiting until the end of the week” to pull their children out, she told LifeSiteNews. Elizabeth Ashford, a spokesperson for Rocklin Academy of Schools, agreed that more families will leave, “which is really a shame,” she said. Ashford said 14 families and 23 kids have left over the controversy. LifeSiteNews called Ashford at the public relations firm Fiona Hutton & Associates to confirm this figure, but she did not respond by deadline.

When the school emailed her to confirm her son’s leaving, it listed “moved during school year” as the reason. The schools reportedly have a waiting list of 1,300, but a friend whose child was 110 on the list for a specific grade at the beginning of this year refused a spot the other day, she said. “So that means they called 110 people before they called her, and they all turned the spot down,” the parent said. The parent wanted to make it clear that those who left or are leaving Rocklin Academy are “not saying anything hateful or bigoted” regarding the transgender student. “In fact, many of us have cried over this poor child because we feel for him. But the “board didn’t show any concern for the families or any respect for parents and our rights for our children,” she added. “Many families are trying to figure out what to do with their kids,” she added. “Parents are saying they’ll home-school if they have to.”

Source: LifeSiteNews

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The streets of Kiev filled with songs of praise and thanks as 500,000 evangelical, Ukrainian Christians gathered to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. “Many travelled long distances to be part of the celebrations, and thank God for the freedom to worship and preach the Gospel in their country, and to celebrate God’s faithfulness,” Sergey Rakhuba with Mission Eurasia said. The gathering came after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed an order recognizing the anniversary of the reformation. “It was exciting to see young people with so much joy as they glorified God in the midst of their capital. This was the same place where they were protesting just a few years ago fighting for their freedom. It is also the place where many years ago, Communists would force people to demonstrate and propagate Socialism, Atheism, Communism, and other ‘isms’ in their country.”

Rakhuba says young people are the key to spreading Protestantism in Ukraine. “That’s why Mission Eurasia is working with the next generation, to take the baton, and take the Gospel to their communities,” he says. Young people aren’t just spreading the gospel in Ukraine, they’re exporting missionaries throughout the world.” I talked to a group of young people. They came to this celebration from their mission trip to Mongolia, where they reached thousands of young people through summer camps!” Ukraine may still be in the middle of a war with Russia, but it is growing leaps and bounds spiritually. Eastern Ukraine and territories are still occupied by Russian or pro-Russian separatists. Crimea was annexed by Russia. “Ukraine is struggling politically and economically, but thriving spiritually” Rakhuba says.

Source: Mission Network News

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