A letter to young people from Roman Catholic bishops condemning gay marriage has been rejected by other Christian leaders.
The letter to "Kiwis of Generation Y" from all six of New Zealand's Catholic bishops advises against allowing same-sex couples to marry in the eyes of the law for the sake of "society as a whole".
"This is no small matter, nor quibbling about words; this is an attempt to re-engineer the status and structure of family life in New Zealand," they wrote.
Fifty clergy and laity from Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Quaker denominations lashed out at the bishops and called on them to reconsider their position on the Marriage Amendment Bill.
"We think it's time the Church recognises and encourages those in same-gender relationships who wish to pledge their love and fidelity to each other in the rite of marriage," the group wrote back to the bishops.
"To suggest, as you do, that marriage based on biblical precepts is frozen in stone and cannot develop or change is to ignore reality."
Related link : Bishops damn gay marriage in letter ~ Dominion Post