It is just eight days since the National Party conference voted in favour of allowing couples in a civil union to adopt children. National party conferences are usually filled with the more conservative members of the Party. The liberals generally don’t bother going to conference and often have better things to do than spend a whole weekend at a school assembly. The vote was a big shift for National because two thirds of conference delegates, from across the country, voted in favour of the remit.
It is a fair to then assume two thirds of this current Parliament will also vote in favour to send the Marriage Equality bill to select committee. National MPs need to listen to their own members, ‘man up’ and realise that allowing gay and lesbian New Zealanders to marry is a step in the right direction, not a step too far.
National Party MPs need to stick to the Party’s values:
National is the Party of equality of opportunity and strong families and communities. Many gay and lesbian New Zealanders are already parenting children. Some are in civil unions, some in de facto relationships. The National Party believes in family values, not family structures. National wants strong communities of New Zealanders that put their children and families first by caring, nurturing and encouraging their children. Equality of opportunity and strong families and communities are fundamental to the marriage equality debate.
National is the Party of individual freedom and choice. New Zealanders should have the freedom to marry, if they choose to. It makes no sense having a two tiered system. It seems crazy to me that if a woman loves another woman that they can’t choose to marry. Sure, they could civil union and that comes with some rights of being married. But it doesn’t come with the right to adopt jointly as a couple – individual gay and lesbian New Zealanders can adopt as an individual but they are barred from doing that as a couple. Children are already living in families with two gay or lesbian parents – but their parents have different rights. All children deserve the opportunity to have the stability and protection of adoption, by having two legally recognised parents. The easiest way to allow that is to amend the Marriage legislation and overhaul the Adoption Act.
National is the Party of limited government. Government should not determine different rights and different tiers of relationship contracts. Marriage equality makes sense and simplifies legislation.
So, all you National Party MPs out there sitting on the fence. “Man up!” As Paula Bennett says in support of marriage equality “How could I deny anyone being as happy as me!!!”
And how dare you MPs deny children the protection of a secure and permanent family life. Remember Bob McCoskrie’s 21 reasons why marriage matters… how about we make sure marriage can matter for everyone? Remember, freedom should be for everyone, not just the few.