Vanuatu Presbyterian Church calling for same-sex marriage ban
The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu wants all churches to band together to ensure the government legislates against same-sex marriage.
The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu is calling for all churches to come together to discuss same-sex marriage and push the government to legislate against it.
Last week, it was reported that gay marriage, which is prohibited under the constitution, is being performed between couples from Australia on the small island of Iririki off Port Vila.
Pastor Alan Nafuki told Hilaire Bule his church is absolutely opposed to gay marriage and has contacted the government asking for an outright ban.
ALAN NAFUKI: In Vanuatu, being a Christian country, we think it is best that government will review what happened in Vanuatu. And also the government of the day must give the side of the story, that the churches are voicing out our concern at the moment, but we need our government, also, to come out clear on the position of these marriage practises in Vanuatu. I would also say that we are so glad that a country like Australia has not legalised the gay and lesbian marriage. But we know that New Zealand has recently passed a legislation in parliament to have that done. But for Vanuatu, and of course I only speak on behalf of this country, we contend with a very high note that this should not be seen [to be practised] on our land.
HILAIRE BULE: The issue has been in Vanuatu since last week. What did you ask the government to do?
AN: We sent a statement that we produced last week for the minister for internal affairs. And we are requesting internal affairs to come up with some kind of policy. We need some immediate guidelines to guide our people here while waiting for the government. to put in legislation that would ban all these practises in Vanuatu.
HB: Recently, gay and lesbian has not been the custom of Vanuatu, but a few years ago we witnessed in Port Vila a group of lesbians and gays walking around in Port Vila, but not in the island. What is yoru advice to them?
AN: Our own people in town, in the street of Port Vila, we see people - not very many - walking around. Like you have a young man walking around with a young man or a young girl walking around with a young girl in town, but we like to discourage that very much. We discourage that by approaching their parents. And also this is related to our customs. This brings shame to our church, to our customs, to our environment, as well. So I think we have people going around together, but to come to that extent of marrying the same sex, this issue is coming, it's really coming. And we should provide avenues for profound discussion, profound outlook, for looking ahead at what we should do to maybe provide a venue that people could discuss more fairly and reasonably so that people do know about the relationship that's been established by the young people in Vanuatu, and we have not recently really sat down together as churches and as people from the village, the chiefs, to discuss this matter. We have not.
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