The Christian ideal of marriage lies behind all New Zealand’s marriage legislation, and is part of our national heritage that should not be abandoned lightly. Christians believe that marriage is the gift of God, defined by God, and approved by God. On the basis of the teaching of the Bible, Christians believe that God’s intended context for sex, reproduction and family is loving, faithful marriage between a man and a woman. Marriage is not just a social custom or a legal contract which can be drastically re-defined to suit human thinking. Marriage is recognized by the State but does not belong to it. Marriage as given by God reflects the essential complementary role of male and female as created in the image of God. It is grounded in nature, and in basic male-female physiology. The concept of same-sex “marriage” is spiritually offensive to many Christian people, who still constitute a very significant proportion of this country’s population and its voters. It is also objectionable to many cultural minorities and non-Christian faiths. The Church does not seek to impose its convictions on everyone else, but can and must speak up for what it believes is right and true, and for the good of families and society as a whole.