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'Sarriage' solution to gay marriage debate

Wednesday 30 Jan 2013 2:03 p.m.

A submitter has suggested calling gay marriage

A submitter has suggested calling gay marriage "sarriage" will please all sides of the marriage equality debate

By Laura McQuillan

Renaming gay marriage as "sarriage" would end divisions over marriage equality, Parliament has been told in a quirky submission on marriage equality legislation.

The Government administration committee heard a mix of views today, including from Russell Morrison, who is concerned the bill will give the word "marriage" more than one meaning.

"There are already too many words in our language with multiple meanings and I don't believe that we should be adding to that situation," he said.

He says the words "marry" and "marriage" are understood to refer to a man and a woman, so he's come up with his own solution to avoid any confusion: "sarry" and "sarriage".

"Then a person can be asked whether he or she is married or sarried, and the response will make the situation clear for everybody."

Mr Morrison said MPs may have already dismissed it as a "crackpot idea", perhaps because they don't like the word or because they don't think it's up to Parliament to introduce new words into language.

"If that's the case, I have to ask whose role that is, and why shouldn't Parliament do so if it sees the need?" he said.

"If you don't like the word, by all means use something else. But if you actually try saying it for a little while over and over it doesn't actually sound so out of place."

Meanwhile, Michael Roberts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told the committee that redefining marriage will have a negative impact on families, children and society.

Green MP Kevin Hague put it to Mr Roberts that the Mormon church has already redefined marriage by banning its former practice of polygamy.

After a lengthy pause, Mr Roberts said the ban resulted from the law "asking us to reconsider that".

He also expressed concerns about the possibility that churches could be breaking the law if they refuse to marry gay couples and asked that if the legislation is to proceed, that the Mormon church is given an exemption.

NZN

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