The New Zealand Advertising Standards
Authority has dismissed complaints against a billboard depicting Pope
Benedict XVI blessing the marriage of a male gay couple.
The four-and-a-half story billboard was
erected last month as part of a campaign in Auckland and Wellington
by a power company.
“It is attempting to imply that the
Catholic Church and the Vatican condone same sex marriage despite no
formal communication of said claim,” one complainant wrote.
Other complaints said the sign mocked
the Catholic religion and was offensive to Christians.
The authority dismissed the four
complaints it received, saying the sign was unlikely to cause
“Neither did it breach the due sense
of responsibility to consumers and society,” the authority said.
The ironic sign is a reference to
proposed legislation to legalize gay marriage in New Zealand.
Legislation which the Catholic Church opposes.
The company said it wanted to
“Obviously it's not our intent to
offend people,” Ari Sargent, chief executive of Powershop, the
company which put up the signs, told The
New Zealand Herald.