The debate that wasn’t: New Zealand’s rushed marriage revolution

The following blog post by Carolyn Moynihan raised concerns over the lack of debate held over the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill and its subsequent passing into law last Wednesday 17th April.  Thank you Carolyn for writing so eloquently the thoughts of many who have had concerns over the lack of debate and the sheer determination to stamp over anyone who believes that marriage should only be for one man and one woman.   This article was published in  Conjuguality.

The debate that wasn’t: New Zealand’s rushed marriage revolution
Last night (April 17) 77 people changed the institution of marriage in New Zealand from a conjugal union with the potential for generating children and providing them with the nurture of their own mother and father into “a union of 2 people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity” with the potential for systematically depriving children of their mother or father, or both. All in the name of “love”. Starting in August.

Actually, just 17 people managed to do that, because the New Zealand Parliament currently has 121 members and if 17 of the 77 who finally voted for the “definition of marriage” bill had voted against it and with the 44 who opposed the move, this South Sea revolution could have been put down and time taken to properly discuss the whole idea. The notion put about by MPs and journalists that there has been a “fierce debate” on same-sex marriage over the past seven or eight months is sheer fantasy.

The truth is that those in favour of law change didn’t want a public debate. They didn’t broach the subject in the last election campaign (nor the one before) but sprang it on us through a private member’s bill — fortuitously drawn from the ballot soon after it was introduced by lesbian MP Louisa Wall. Calls for a referendum — taken up by New Zealand First, a minor party in the government, and by a few other MPs — were rejected by the majority in the House on grounds that include: it would be difficult for people to exercise an informed vote (of course, if you won’t give them time to be informed) and “minority rights issues” should not be the subject of a referendum (even though no-one has shown us how people incapable of marriage can have a right to it).

What many politicians appear to want most of all is to show that “we are modern/tolerant/compassionate too”. This applies to the several MPs whose first — and last — word on the subject was “It won’t affect my marriage” or some similar statement. Prime Minister John Key led the way here and other National (“conservative”) members followed suit. Key himself took his cue from Barack Obama, declaring his support for gay marriage the day after Obama announced his, and also from British Prime Minister David Cameron who nailed his rainbow colours to the mast some time ago, causing a mutiny in his Conservative Party’s ranks.

Read more at Conjuguality

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