Faith in Focus

Submission to Parliament


The Political Contact Committee made the following submission to Parliament.   We also had the opportunity to address the Select committee and our comments and position were also broadcast in that day's Radio New Zealand news. GM.

For the Government Administration Select Committee

A submission concerning: The De Facto Relationships (Property) Bill

Organisation making the submission: The Political Contact Committee of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand.

Organisation's aims, membership and structure: Our mandate is to represent the voice of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand in addressing Parliament on social and ethical issues from a Christian position that accepts the authority of the Bible as God's will for men.

Those involved in making the decision: The Elders of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand.

De facto Relationships (Property) Bill

A submission on the proposed Bill

The General Policy Statement gives, as the background to the proposed Bill, the following reasons to show the need for such a Bill.
There is no legislative regime for de facto couples in dividing property when the relationship ends. The general law to which they have recourse is considered inadequate. It is inadequate because it does not facilitate a fair distribution of the collective contribution to the relationship. All this sounds eminently reasonable on the face of it. The Bill itself endeavours to provide for a fair distribution of wealth at the end of the relationship.
But it is the assumptions that give rise to the Bill in the first place that, in our view, make this proposed legislation inappropriate for our or any society.
The Bill assumes that a person choosing to enter a de facto relationship outside marriage deserves the protection of the law, by virtue of that relationship.
Our society has always viewed marriage as the desired state for those who choose to become united to create families or to live as husband and wife. For this reason, legal marriage has been protected and hedged by legislation in our society. It has long been recognized as the desirable norm for such a relationship. The protections of law afforded to the state of marriage helped to highlight its importance and desirability. 
In making the same protections for de facto relationships, an assumption is being made that non-marriage relationships deserve the same protection under law. We suggest that this should not be the case for the following reasons.

A)  Marriage is a divine institution initiated by God at the beginning of the human race and sanctioned by Him as the only legitimate form of union for those who would be man and wife.
This truth can be demonstrated in a number of ways from Holy Scripture which is revelation from the Supreme Lawgiver.
And the man said,  "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."   For this cause a man shall  leave his  father and  his  mother, and shall cleave to his  wife; and they shall become one flesh.(Gen. 2:23,24)
The Old Testament endorses the sanctity of Marriage and this is true of the New Testament as well.

B) The advice of the writer to the Hebrews is, [Let] marriage [be held] in honour among all, and let the [ marriage ] bed [be] undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)
Here the Scriptures teach that sexual relations outside of marriage, which is what fornication and adultery refer to, are condemned by God. 
It follows that to give a similar warrant to de facto marriage, as we have traditionally done for legal marriage, is to oppose the purposes of God.
We can also say that in providing for legislation that makes de facto relationships more desirable, by providing the legislative benefits that this Bill proposes, the institution of marriage is being undermined and the tendency toward relationships outside of lawful marriage is being
encouraged.
While it is true that this Bill will make de facto couples feel that their material possessions are more protected, the increased, officially sanctioned prevalence of de facto marriage will just harm society. Children conceived in these relationships will even be less likely to see their de facto
parents maintain a united family home, since it will now be easier for either party to leave the relationship. The necessary consequence of this legislation, that the institution of marriage will be further down-graded, will increase the irresponsibility that is at the heart of de facto relationships.
This irresponsibility evident in a couple, who are unwilling to make a life-time commitment or bond in legal marriage, will impact their children through example. If a society becomes increasingly irresponsible at its core, in human relationships of the most intimate kind, it is more than likely that this irresponsibility will be reflected in other relationships.  These would include the relationship between Government and its electorate, the relationships in an extended family, the relationships between employer and employee and the relationships between citizens and functions of authority like the Police Department and the Courts.
The rationale behind this Bill, giving marriage-like privileges to de facto couples, will by natural consequence inevitably allow homosexual couples to have the same and ultimately other privileges now available to the present marriage state. The logic that gives rise to this Bill, will seem to create an injustice, in the minds of those who reject the law of God, for same-sex relationships.

C) The sanctions against easy no-fault divorce in the New Testament and the renunciation of adultery in both Testaments also teach us that marriage is extremely important. Anything that seeks to undermine marriage, therefore is by implication wrong.

D) When discussing the need for human beings to satisfy their sexual urges, the Bible makes it plain that this must be done in the context of marriage (1 Cor. 7:9).

For these reasons we strongly oppose this Bill. But we wish to stress that it is the implicit undermining of the sanctity of marriage that is a foremost concern. Not only will this be detrimental for our society as we have briefly stated, but most importantly Almighty God Himself will be greatly offended by this further rejection of his plainly declared will found in His Special Revelation, Holy Scripture.
We urge you therefore to recommend to Parliament that this Bill be rejected and that in its place you will declare to our nation that monogamous committed heterosexual marriage is the only lawful and appropriate union in the light of God's Word.

G.H.Milne.(Convenor)
E. Rademaker.
G.H. de Jonge

Thursday, 02 July 1998

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Faith in Focus /NZ Reformed Church / gmilne@ihug.co.nz / revised October 1998 / Copyright 1998