McCoskrie resigns as marriage celebrant

By Heather McCracken

Family First director Bob McCoskrie. File photo / APN
Family First director Bob McCoskrie. File photo / APN

Bob McCoskrie says he's not alone in resigning as a marriage celebrant over concerns about gay marriage, but other celebrants say they're not aware of resignations over the issue.

Mr McCoskrie, the Family First national director, has not renewed his licence as a celebrant because he rejects the state definition of marriage, he announced on his blog.

Referring to the passing of the Marriage Amendment Act, the post said the "act of cultural vandalism'' rammed through by politicians had prompted him to resign as a state-sanctioned marriage celebrant.

He would still perform marriage ceremonies for couples, but they would have to go to a local registry office to make the union legal.

"But it would be wrong of me - and perhaps even hypocritical of me - to allow myself to be appointed by the state to carry out that duty while rejecting the distorted definition that the state has adopted,'' he said.

Mr McCoskrie told APNZ he was aware of other celebrants who had adopted the same stance, and said he had been "overwhelmed with support'' since announcing his decision.

Auckland celebrant Kathrine Fraser, immediate past-present of the Celebrants Association of New Zealand (CANZ), said a survey at the time of the law change found most celebrants were in favour of it.

She said it had also been made clear that while celebrants were empowered to marry couples, they were not compelled to marry anyone they didn't wish to.

Couples generally looked for a celebrant who they connected with and who shared their outlook, so a same-sex couple was unlikely to choose a celebrant who was uncomfortable with gay marriage, she said.

There was plenty of choice for same-sex unions, particularly as all civil union celebrants had been given the opportunity to transition to being marriage celebrants with the change in law.

Celebrant Rei Hagan, co-chair of CANZ Waikato branch, said she wasn't aware of any celebrants who had resigned as a result of the law change.

"I haven't heard of a single person resigning for that reason. Not one.''

She also wasn't aware of any celebrants who had concerns about being required to marry same-sex couples.

Figures from the Department of Internal affairs show 361 same-sex couples married in New Zealand between August 19, 2013, when the new law came into force, and December 19.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 18 Dec 2014 11:02:22 Processing Time: 409ms