Weddingmoon Vacations are shocked by a story that broke in the news this week, as well as angered and saddened.
Yesterday, Stuff News published an article saying that a lesbian couple headed to New Zealand from Australia to get married next year were refused the services of a cake baker, based on her belief's.
In an email that was sent to the couple by the owner of Kath's Devine Cakes, based in Warkworth, stated the following, "I do not wish to offend either of you and I thank you for letting me now that it is a same-sex wedding". The email went on to say, "Even though as individuals you are both fabulous and amazing people, I must follow the integrity of my heart and beliefs. Our government has legalised same-sex marriages, but it is not my belief that it is correct, therefore I will not support it and cannot make your wedding cake for you".
The Human Rights Act 1993 states it is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnicity, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status or sexual orientation. A lawyer from the Superdiversity Centre, Mai Chen, has said that the business owner above is breaking the law with regards to the Human Rights Act, where section 44 of the act says that 'to refuse or fail on demand to provide any other person' with goods, facilities, or services by reason of any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination is unlawful'.
The Human Rights Commission has pointed out, that under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, refusing to provide facilities, goods or services to a same-sex couple, could be a violation of this act too. This would have to be raised in a Court of Law to be fully examined as such.
As a multi-national wedding with honeymoon business that specialises in elopements for the LGBTQI+ communities, we are extremely appalled to read that these bigoted attitudes are still being used as justification for discrimination. Can Weddingmoon Vacations politely refuse service to people because they're straight? How about because they're Israeli? Or because they're Christian? Of course not! We bring money from Australia. China, and the United States to New Zealand businesses. Our efforts support the local tourism and hospitality industries throughout Aotearoa. This will definitely have a negative impact on where LGBTQI+ couples decide to have their nuptials and as a consequence take revenue away from New Zealand's Wedding industry as well as the tourism and hospitality industries.
This is a terrible message to send the rest of the world about New Zealand. Do we really want to align ourselves with the American stance on this issue? Of the one hundred and ninety-five countries in the world, New Zealand was number thirteen to recognise that LGBTQI+ people are human beings and deserve the same love and marital rights as everyone else. Aotearoa is one of a small, elite group of nations who offer these profound social and economic benefits to our citizens. It's a Kiwi gift to the world. Let's not blow it!