Originally published in Lifesite News
Three weeks after the passage of homosexual ‘marriage’ in New Zealand, a pro-family group has been stripped of charitable status. Family First New Zealand, a charity which speaks up for families, and holds a traditional view of marriage and family, have received notice from the independent Charities Registration Board that they will be removed from the Charities Register on May 27th.
During the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate prior to the April 17 passage of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, Family First was a major force in educating and mobilising the public to stand up for marriage being between one man and one woman. According to Bob McCoskrie, the National Director of Family First, the Charities Registration Board cited that view as one of the reasons for the deregistration.
Brendon Ward, the General Manager of Charities Services, said “Family First’s main purpose is to promote particular points of view about family life. Under the Act promotion of a controversial point of view is a political purpose.”
Under the Charities Act, it is possible for charities to support or oppose legislation as long as it is not the main purpose of the charity.
“The Commission argues that Family First’s efforts to represent the voice of 80%-plus of families on the anti-smacking law or half of New Zealanders on attempts to redefine marriage, for example, have no ‘public benefit’, and that it is in the ‘public interest’ for Family First to be deregistered.”
The removal of Family First from the Charities Register will not stop the charity from operating. However, it does mean that their donors will not receive a donation rebate, and Family First will be required to pay income tax, despite being a non-profit.
Surprisingly Green MP Denise Roche spoke in defense of Family First saying, “Advocacy in charities is where we also keep our democracy. Not-for-profits and charitable organisations have a real role in advocating for a better society, and if they are unable to do that then we lose a voice.”
Roche was a member of Greenpeace NZ, which was struck off the Charities Register in 2010. The case is still on going and will be heard by the Supreme Court in July.
“You know a country is in trouble when a family group speaking up, publishing research, and holding conferences on traditional family values is deemed to be of no public benefit, and is in the public interest to be punished. It seems almost illegal to hold a viewpoint.” McCoskrie concluded.