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Christian groups step up pressure to stop same-sex marriage in Vanuatu

Written by gaytourism

A coalition of leaders in Vanuatu signing a petition against same-sex marriage. | Photo: Vanuatu Daily Post

A coalition of Christian, womens, youth groups and local chiefs have started a petition to outlaw same-sex marriage in Vanuatu.

The coalition wants to get as many signatures as possible to show that ‘99% of the population’ opposes same-sex marriage.

Vanuatu is a small island nation in the south Pacific Ocean about 1,750kms (1,090 miles) east of northern Australia. Christianity is the main religion amongst the population of about 270,000 people.

Representatives from four big civil society organizations, including the influential Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC), were the first to sign the petition. They met on Friday (6 April) in the capital Port Vila to launch it.

They started the petition based on rumors that some politicians had planned to introduce a marriage equality bill into parliament.

‘I have spoken to the Prime Minister (Charlot Salwai), to let him know that we the civil society are opposed to same sex marriage in the country,’ the VCC’s chairman, Pastor Allan Nafuki, told the Vanuatu Daily Post.

Named ‘the Church Statement on Biblical Sexually’, the Malvatu Mauri chiefs will also sign the petition. Their support is significant because as the National Council of Chiefs they play an important role in advising the government.

What the petition says

The coalition’s petition denounces civil marriages and any other union outside of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage between two people.

It reads:

‘Affirmed that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant of love between Christ and his bride the church.’

‘We DENY that God has deigned marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage of a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.’

Homosexuality is legal in Vanuatu, but various leaders have often said Vanuatu should not accept LGBTI people or same-sex marriage.

In 2013, a senior government minister warned Christian pastors and venues they would face stiff penalties if they presided over same-sex marriages.

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