Civil Union

A judge Colin Craig would like

Sensible advice really, pity WINZ doesn’t enforce it.

On The Huddle last night Josie Pagani went on about child poverty and I asked the question, that if people were poor why do they keep on breeding more children into poverty?

Couples should not have children if their relationship is not stable enough to merit getting married, a senior High Court judge said.

Sir Paul Coleridge said those couples whose relationship was stable enough to cope with the rigours of child rearing should marry.

But the judge, who is retiring from the bench next year after decades as a family lawyer and judge, said those who did not feel ready for children should not have them.  Read more »

David Cameron cops one in the chook over gay marriage

The Poms are clearly not as enlightened as us Kiwis. David Cameron facing a defeat in the House of Commons over gay marriage.

David Cameron is facing the prospect of another defeat in the Commons over his plans to legalise gay marriage.

More than 100 Conservatives are said to be ready to back a “wrecking” amendment to the same-sex marriage Bill that could cost the Treasury £4 billion.

If enough Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs also support the amendment – which would open up civil partnerships to heterosexual couples for the first time – then Mr Cameron’s plans will be in jeopardy.

The amendment, proposed by Tim Loughton, a former Tory minister who opposes same-sex marriage, will be backed by many Labour MPs, opposition sources said.

The Liberal Democrats are known to support such a reform.  Read more »

Marriage Equality is a Conservative Cause

Jon Huntsman writes at The American Conservative about why Marriage Equality is actually a conservative cause:

If conservatives come to the table with solutions that put our communities first, it will go a long way toward winning elections.

But it’s difficult to get people even to consider your reform ideas if they think, with good reason, you don’t like or respect them. Building a winning coalition to tackle the looming fiscal and trust deficits will be impossible if we continue to alienate broad segments of the population. We must be happy warriors who refuse to tolerate those who want Hispanic votes but not Hispanic neighbors. We should applaud states that lead on reforming drug policy. And, consistent with the Republican Party’s origins, we must demand equality under the law for all Americans.

While serving as governor of Utah, I pushed for civil unions and expanded reciprocal benefits for gay citizens. I did so not because of political pressure—indeed, at the time 70 percent of Utahns were opposed—but because as governor my role was to work for everybody, even those who didn’t have access to a powerful lobby. Civil unions, I believed, were a practical step that would bring all citizens more fully into the fabric of a state they already were—and always had been—a part of.  Read more »

This bloke is a glutton for punishment

Seriously…think about it…two mothers in law!

Three people have been allowed to enter into a civil union in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, a public notary, granted the wishes of the man and two women, saying there is nothing in law that prevents such an arrangement.

The trio have lived together in Rio de Janeiro for three years, and have a joint bank account, sharing bills and expenses. The union was made formally three months ago, according to Globo TV, but only became public this week.

“We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything,” said Ms Domingues.

“For better or worse, it doesn’t matter, but what we considered a family before isn’t necessarily what we would consider a family today.”

Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva, a lawyer, told the BBC it was “totally illegal” and “completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals”.

Riiight, Brazilian values and morals?

This from the country of Mardi Gras and Brazilian waxing.


Bigots mail to MPs

Kevin Hague has highlighted an example of some of the anti-marriage equality mail that MPs have received.










xxxxxxx yyyyyyyyy



In response Kevin is reasonable and rational (and incredibly patient and polite).  I’ll be a little more direct to the letter writer.  “You are a dick.  Aside from being wrong on this issue you are also pushing MPs toward voting for marriage equality.  If you were smart you’d realise that MPs don’t want to be associated with extremists like you.”

Anyway, Hague then talks about his own relationship and what his committed relationship looks like – much like most committed (married) heterosexual relationships:

My partner and I got together in August 1984. That’s 28 years. Probably longer than many of the MPs who will end up voting against Louisa’s Bill. Our lives together are not really any different to those of many heterosexual couples. We cook and eat together, we watch TV, we do the gardening, we have stupid arguments, we visit our families and friends, we go cycling together, we pay the mortgage, we go to the supermarket, we have had a houseful of teenagers, we went to their parent-teacher interviews, we go to the gym. We love each other.

We don’t know if we will marry. But if we do, we hope you will celebrate with us, and recognise that lighting our candle does not extinguish yours – it just increases the light.

That last line “we hope you will celebrate with us, and recognise that lighting our candle does not extinguish yours – it just increases the light” is taken from my favourite speech from the Civil Union bill debate.

 I used to often tell my students: “You don’t make your own candle shine more brightly by blowing out somebody else’s.”, and the converse of that adage is: “My own candle will not glow more dimly if I should light somebody else’s.” Therefore, I ask this question: how will my own marriage be diminished by the passage of this legislation? The answer, and I am convinced it is the correct answer, is it will not make one iota of difference. If that is the case, what is so dreadfully wrong in allowing other New Zealanders of a different disposition to make a long-term, public commitment to someone they love?

Brian Donnelly was a New Zealand First MP, a great man, teacher and leader.  If he was still around I am sure that New Zealand First wouldn’t be the pussies they are being in suggesting they will either abstain or bloc vote against the bill.  I also thought that Denis O’Rourke was a man very like Donnelly (full of compassion and understanding) – I can only hope that O’Rourke will ‘man up’ and challenge Winston.


Gay Marriage Bill drawn

Louisa Wall’s gay marriage bill has been drawn from the ballot:

Gay marriage is ”the reality of our times” and should be voted in to law, Labour’s David Shearer says but deputy Prime Minister Bill English says it is ”not that important” and he ”thought the problem had been solved” with civil unions.

And NZ First MP Richard Prosser says although he has ”nothing against gays” he will be voting against a gay marriage bill to ”preserve the institution of marriage”.

members bill to allow same sex couples to marry was today drawn from a ballot and will be debated by Parliament – potentially as early as next month.

The bill, led by Labour MP Louisa Wall, is likely to be subject to a conscience vote but will have the support of Shearer and all Green Party MPs. Prime Minister John Key has previously indicated he would vote for a bill for gay marriage to at least be considered by a select committee.

A number of MPs – including Key and English – voted against legislation in 2004 that allowed same sex couples to enter civil unions. Many of those MPs still in Parliament may also vote against Wall’s bill.

But Shearer today said Key’s support for gay marriage may be ”some indication from the National Party mood is”.

NSW upper house backs gay marriage

Sydney Morning Herald

The NSW Upper house is backing same-sex marriage. It is astonishing some of the arguments against…with no foundation in fact or reason:

The NSW upper house has passed a motion calling on the federal government to allow gay marriage, despite a Liberal MP saying that change could lead to polygamy.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann’s private members’ motion passed 22 votes to 16 in the Legislative Council, with both major parties allowing a conscience vote.

NSW has now joined Tasmania and the ACT in having a parliamentary chamber call for the 1961 commonwealth Marriage Act to be amended to allow same-sex marriage.

Shortly before the vote, Ms Faehrmann likened a ban on gay marriage to the 1950s laws prohibiting Aboriginal men from marrying white women.

During the debate, Labor MP Helen Westwood described being in a lesbian relationship and having eight grandchildren.

”There’s just no evidence that my children or my grandchildren have been disadvantaged by being raised in a same-sex relationship,” she told the chamber.

But Labor’s leader in the upper house, Luke Foley, who hails from the party’s left faction, said that as a practising Catholic he believed civil unions were more appropriate for gay couples than marriage.

”I do believe that homosexual relationships are different to a married relationship,” he said, adding a ”procreative relationship open to the possibility of children” was an ”essential feature of marriage”.

Liberal member Matthew Mason-Cox argued same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy.

”Indeed, if one was to take the notion of equality of marriage to its logical conclusion, then there would be no reason to stand in the way of polygamist marriages, or other variants,” he said.

”This is the so-called slippery slope in this debate which has manifested itself overseas in some jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been allowed.”

Well done Young Nats, Ctd

Back on 8 May I blogged about the Northern Region Young Nats putting up a remit regarding adoption:

That the National Party legalise adoption for those who have entered into a civil union partnership.

This morning at the Northern Region Convention that remit was passed.

Well done to the Northern Region Young Nats who put up that remit. It now goes to a policy committee to consider remits for the conference.

I will be watching closely to see if the party tries to bury it.

Guest Post – Louisa Wall

Yesterday I emailed Louisa Wall, the MP who is best known for her stance on marriage equality, asking her if she would like to write a guest post. Louisa and I are on different sides of the political spectrum on many issues, but on the same side of this one. I am grateful that Louisa has the ability to look beyond our differences and agreed to provide a guest post.

I am happy to publish guest posts on from any politician from any political party, and will print their post in its entirety. I may comment if I disagree, but the original post will not be edited in any form.

Readers should feel free to comment as usual, though please remember that courtesy should be extended to guests. Reasoned, sensible arguments from any side of the debate on marriage equality are welcome. Inane abuse is not.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 19:  Labour repre...

(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage will hopefully inject momentum into the issue here. As Chair of Rainbow Labour Caucus I have been working on a Member’s bill amending the Marriage Act that I hope will be endorsed by Rainbow Labour  and our Labour Caucus and placed in the ballot.

Our current Marriage Act does not define marriage as a union between one man and one  woman and that is a distinction that we have from other countries like Australia and the United States. The Quilter majority decision of the Court of Appeal in the 1990s essentially  passed the issue of same sex marriage back to Parliament because the Court believed the 1955 Marriage Act contemplated marriage in the traditional sense and any change that society wished to make should be done by legislation. The Court acknowledged the Act  was discriminatory but justified it by virtue of the time that the Act was passed. Justice Thomas however expressed a minority view that the 1955 Act was discriminatory and could not be justified under the NZ Bill of Rights Act. However he accepted that the Bill of Rights Act could not strike down the discriminatory nature of the Marriage Act – in law they have the same status.

Our response in Aotearoa was the Civil Union Act 2004 which established civil unions for same-sex and opposite sex couples. I believe the experience of civil unions has resulted  in what I see as a greater acceptance of same-sex marriage today. Civil unions are a validly accepted institution amongst most people and one used by heterosexual couples as well. Essentially same-sex marriage along with same-sex adoption remain the issues that need to be addressed before we can say there is substantive equality in Aotearoa for the rainbow community.

Marriage for some same-sex couples is the preferred way for them to commit themselves to another person. For others, both same-sex and opposite sex, their commitment is best expressed by a civil union. Currently opposite sex couples can exercise either option but same-sex couples can only avail themselves of a civil union. That is discriminatory and breaches the basic human rights of a group of people based on their sexual orientation.

What I admire about President Obama’s public position is his ability to acknowledge that at a personal level, given his religious beliefs, it is not something that sits too comfortably with him but, at a moral level, and bearing in mind a commitment to equality and embodied  in the constitution of the USA he cannot oppose same-sex marriage. I believe we all need  to consider this matter in terms of equality and not our personal beliefs. In doing that no rational person could in my view oppose all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, having the same legal rights and ability to choose for themselves how they express their commitment and love for another person.

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Gays have lower divorce rates

Andrew Sullivan

It seems that homosexual couples in a civil union have a much lower divorce rate than straight couples and even lesbian couples:

There’s some fascinating and counter-intuitive data that back it up (it’s not apples to apples since civil partnerships do not carry the social status of civil marriages, but it’s not far off, since British CPs are identical in rights to CMs.) But this is a striking result:

The most recent evidence from the UK Office of National Statistics finds that homosexual couples that joined in 2005 were significantly less likely to have filed for dissolution four years later than heterosexual couples were to have filed for divorce: 2.5% compared to 5.5%. As Hattersley points out, however, male couples were much less likely to dissolve their relationship than were female couples: By the end of 2010, 1.6 % of male civil partnerships had ended in dissolution compared to 3.3 % of female partnerships.

This data may shift again over time. But who predicted that gay marriages would have lower divorce rates than straight marriages? Not me. And who predicted that gay men would last longer in marriage than lesbians? No one. So the one thing Jesus insisted on in marriage – no divorce – is now best upheld by gay male marriages. (Cut to Gary Bauer’s head exploding.)

It looks like homosexual couples respect the sanctity of marriage a whole lot more than heterosexueals even if they can’t actually get married. Time for a bit of equality I think.