Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash
Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

Christ in his teaching on marriage says: “Have you not read that He who made them at the begin-ning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be-come one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4). The Catholic Church in its understanding of the teaching of Christ on marriage stipulates that: “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partner-ship of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptised, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” Can. 1055§ 1. The Church in Can. 1056 also teaches that the essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility. These laws are derived from the sacred scripture as taught by Jesus Christ. This teaching of Christ on marriage is grossly com-promised by the recently proposed marriage bill of 2019 particularly by the Clause 40 which: 

provides for relationships which, to make a clear distinction between them and proper marriages, have been termed “civil partnerships”. Civil partnerships are the equivalent of what would be referred to under the general law as “common law marriages”. Civil partnerships are not recognised as marriages as defined under this Bill but for the purpose of realising justice between the parties to the partnership in terms of the Matrimonial Causes Act [Chapter 5:13] upon the dissolution of the relationship. The parties to a civil partnership must be over 18 years of age, not within the prohibited degrees of relationship and, having regard to all the circumstances of the relationship, have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis before their rights and obligations on the dissolution of the relationship can be determined in accordance with the Matrimonial Causes Act. Subclause (2) sets out the circumstances that may be taken into account in determining whether or not a civil partnership existed. Under subclause (3), no particular factor in relation to any circumstance may be regarded as necessary in the determination and the court making a determination may attach such weight to any factor as may be appropri-ate. Under subclause (4), because a civil partnership is not a marriage, it may exist notwithstanding that one or both parties are legally married to someone else or are in another civil partnership.” 

The implications of this clause have far reaching consequences. Firstly, this clause disregards the sanctity and integrity of marriage as taught in the bible which says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife … the two shall become one flesh”. Man joins his wife not wives nor a civil partner, which means to have an extramarital affair which is being referred to as civil partnership is contrary to God’s law. Hence the Church on fidelity teaches that, By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement “until further notice.” The “intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union be-tween them” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1646). Interestingly the bill itself in clause 5 states that, “a civil marriage is contracted in terms of the general law of Zimbabwe and is monogamous. No other marriage can be contracted by a person during the subsistence of a monogamous marriage”. Having said this, it contrarily tolerates the civil partnership. Even if the bill does not consider civil partnership as marriage, this partnership impinges on the sanctity and dignity of the civil marriage. This is contrary to what is held in clause 5 aforementioned, for if it denies all other marriages why would it tolerate and assimilate this unholy – civil partnership (small-house). This is a clear baptism, adoption and legalisation of extra-marital affairs. This will aggravate the social ill of unfaithfulness and adultery which is ravaging our social fabrics. HIV and Aids cases will increase, domestic violence, divorces, uncared for children will rise on the streets and women who are purported to be protected will suffer seriously the consequences of this social draconian law vested in sheep skin. It is set to threaten our cultural moral standards and worse God-given moral laws. On this I say to the law makers and everyone else, “We ought to obey God rather than men”. (Act 5:29)