Two members of New Zealand’s Parliament have attending an anti-gay marriage protest in South Auckland.

The New Zealand Herald reports that National MP Kanwaljit S Bakshi and Labour’s Su’a William Sio (pictured) took part in the rally, alongside people with placards likening gay people to animals.

Handwritten signs included slogans such as “lesbi/gay copy … animals” and another calling any MP who supported the bill to legalise same-sex marriage mentally ill.

Bakshi is a member of the Parliamentary committee that will consider public submissions for and against the Marriage Amendment Bill.

Tongan Christians were reportedly bused in to take part in the demonstration.

“We understand that God made us and we are firm believers [that] marriage is between a man and woman,” Bakshi told the crowd.

“I tell you, the majority of the National Party MPs voted against this bill. There were only three Labour party MPs who voted against this bill. So you can understand who believes in Christianity, who believes in this bill. It is the National Party.”

Sio, the country’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesman, had previously asked south Auckland MP Louisa Wall to withdraw her gay marriage bill because it is proving divisive in Pacific communities.

Church leaders in New Zealand stepped up their campaign against plans to legalise gay marriage earlier this month, using Sunday sermons to encourage congregations to speak out against the move.

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