AM's Ryan Bridge reveals he was sent Christmas card by viewer that urged him to 'repent' for 'sinful' same-sex relationship

A Christmas card sent to AM co-host Ryan Bridge by a viewer last week claimed his sexuality was "not okay with God" and urged him to "consider repenting" for his same-sex relationship, the presenter has revealed.  

Bridge, who announced his engagement to his partner of four years in June, shared the shocking anecdote on Monday's show after receiving the card on Friday.  

The story arose as he and co-host Melissa Chan-Green discussed the results of a new Talbot Mills poll that highlighted the most divisive social issues following last month's election.

The issue most strongly opposed by respondents was people who were born biologically male - but now identify as women - being allowed to compete in women's sports, with 40 percent of New Zealanders' surveyed reporting they were 'strongly opposed' to that happening.  

Other issues that proved controversial in the poll were co-governance, with 27 percent of respondents saying they were 'strongly opposed' to the provision for separate Māori wards in local government, as well as same-sex marriage.

The poll found while 32 percent and 24 percent of respondents 'strongly supported' or 'supported' same-sex marriage respectively, 22 percent were 'unsure', 10 percent were 'opposed' and 11 percent 'strongly opposed'.   

"That's quite a lot of people on the side of neutral or opposed," Chan-Green noted, with Bridge adding: "Almost half of people are either 'shrug your shoulders' or don't like it, which I'm surprised by."  

Bridge then revealed he'd received the Christmas card from a viewer on Friday and had been so flabbergasted by the message, he'd taken it home to show his partner. Having not yet shared the contents of the card in question, Chan-Green responded with an 'aww' - but Bridge quickly shut that down.

"No - not like that," he said. "It was, 'Hello, love your work on TV, blah, blah, blah'. Now, getting down to the business of you being, you know, 'the way you are' - your sexuality and how that's 'all wrong' and 'not okay with God'. And also, your marriage - she was very worked up about the fact that I was getting married.  

"You know what, I'm so used to this kind of stuff, it doesn't bother me at all, it really doesn't. But I took it home to show my partner and he was like, I can't believe someone has taken the time to write to you to say what you're about to do is 'a sin' and you should 'really consider repenting' and what not. People have strong beliefs, don't they?"  

Ryan Bridge
Ryan Bridge revealed that a viewer sent him a Christmas card last week that urged him to "repent" for his "sinful" same-sex engagement. Photo credit: AM

A visibly shocked Chan-Green responded: "I think you coped with that remarkably well, because the fact that you're getting married - and someone thought they could write in and say 'that's wrong' - is horrendous to me."

"I suppose we do put ourselves out there on the telly every morning," Bridge mused. "There's a large group of people watching who will have various views of the world - and of us - half of you probably aren't watching," he added, laughing.

"I think you have to take the good with the bad. She was polite, she didn't say I was going to hell - although it was heavily implied," he giggled.

"It doesn't bother me. I just find it interesting to see that result - so many people shrugging their shoulders at [same-sex marriage], so [long] after the vote took place in Parliament."

New Zealand legalised same-sex marriage in April 2013, becoming the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so. The bill was passed with a wide majority, with 77 votes in favour and 44 against.

In June, Bridge announced he was engaged to his partner of four years: a 36-year-old former professional athlete who now works in construction.

Speaking to New Zealand Woman's Weekly, Bridge said he proposed during a camping trip in Tāwharanui, north of Auckland.

"There was no one on the beach, just us. I got down on one knee in the water and he said yes. It was beautiful and emotional. We both cried."

Watch the video above.