Tongans march against same-sex marriage bill

About 300 people from Tongan churches across Auckland have marched in protest against a bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

The bill proposed by Labour MP Louisa Wall passed its first reading in Parliament in August and has been sent to a parliamentary select committee for consideration.

Leaders of more than 30 Tongan churches organised the march in the grounds of the Tongan Methodist Church in Mangere on Saturday. It began with a prayer and was led by brass bands.

The protesters wore red - the colour of the Tongan flag - and carried banners saying things like "Marriage is a union between a man and a woman".

One of the organisers, Filipo Motulalo, said the churches have made a joint submission opposing the bill and are circulating a national petition against it.

He said they are not anti-gay, but rather are marching for families, which for them means a woman, a man and children.

"This is about safeguarding marriage," Mr Motulalo said. "This is about safeguarding family, the foundations of family."

One marcher said she opposed same-sex marriage "because in the Bible it says God created Adam and Eve", and another who said she had come to support the protest said "Civil union's enough".

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