A pro-family group in New Zealand has been notified that it will lose its charitable status because it campaigned in support of traditional marriage.
The country recently legalised gay marriage, and now officials have told a charity called ‘Family First NZ’ that it will be deregistered.
The group says the move is a “highly politicised decision” and is an attempt to muzzle those who disagree with political correctness.
But New Zealand’s charity regulator says the group’s beliefs about marriage are political because they “do not have a public benefit”.
The Green Party, whose MPs voted unanimously for same-sex marriage, leapt to the group’s defence.
Green MP Denise Roche said charities should be allowed to engage in advocacy for the sake of democracy.
Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, said: “This is a highly politicised decision which is grim evidence that groups that think differently to the prevailing politically correct view will be targeted in an attempt to shut them up.”
He added: “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 to be almost illegal to hold a viewpoint.”
But the Charities Registration Board ruled that Family First’s main purpose was “to promote points of view about family life, the promotion of which is a political purpose because the points of view do not have a public benefit that is self-evident as a matter of law”.
Family First NZ will lose its charitable status unless it appeals to the New Zealand High Court by 27 May.