Marriage Equality – idea whose time has come

Marriage equality is about basic fairness. It is a pretty basic principle of law that discrimination that disadvantages a particular group based on irrelevant criteria is unacceptable, particularly when it is practised by the State. Louisa Wall’s bill to redefine marriage to exclude discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is about eliminating exactly this sort of problem. The Marriage Act 1955 (or rather its interpreatation by the Courts) creates a particular kind of endorsement of a relationship between two people who love and are committed to each other, which discriminates against big categories of people. This discrimination has no rational purpose and is based on criteria which are irrelevant to the civil institution of marriage. It needs to go.

I fully appreciate that there are some people who hold religious views about homosexuality that are negative, but it is important to understand that marriage is, in fact, two different things. On the one hand it is a religious sacrament, and I recognise that, arising from this, some churches may object to marrying same-sex couples for doctrinal reasons. The intention behind the Bill is absolutely to continue to allow such churches to decide whom they will and will not marry. However, marriage is also a civil institution, and this civil institution must be based on the principles of law, rationality and natural justice. New Zealand is not a state where law is or should be determined by religious doctrine.

Some respond by saying that the more elegant solution would be to repeal the Marriage Act, removing the State from marriage altogether and making civil unions the sole civic institutional formalisation of relationships, in an entirely non-discriminatory way. That is another way of achieving fairness, but John Key is absolutely right when he notes that we do not start with a blank slate; we start with the real world that we live in. In that real world, there are very many currently married New Zealanders who would resent the disestablishment of that status, to give just one reason why this is not a smart way to proceed. While allowing same-sex couples to marry does not harm currently married couples in any way whatsoever, abolishing the civic institution of marriage very likely does.

So why aren’t civil unions enough? Some MPs, especially (it seems) those who actually voted against them, argue that gay and lesbian couples should be happy to settle for civil unions. They say that civil unions have the same legal effect as marriages. Well that’s not true. Couples in civil unions may not adopt children, for example. Civil unions are not recognised by some overseas jurisdictions. But, here’s the main point: how would heterosexual people feel if they had only civil unions open to them but same-sex couples could enter civil unions or marry as they chose? Because how lesbian and gay New Zealanders feel is this: like second class citizens.

I have blogged before about the relationship between anti-gay prejudice and discrimination and some of the negative outcomes facing young queer people in areas like suicide, depression and alcohol and other drug use. The message that the State currently sends through this discriminatory law undermines these young people and fuels and gives heart to prejudice. That is why it must go.  A law that treats all couples equally does the reverse: it undermines prejudice, it empowers the marginalised and it creates a healthier and happier society.

John Key has also noted that he can’t see how same-sex couples being married affects his own marriage with Bronagh in any way. Indeed. This is a law change that will bring direct benefit to some people, indirect benefit to many, and harm to none at all. About time isn’t it?

It looks like the Bill’s First Reading will most likely be on August 29th. More than twice as many New Zealanders support this Bill as oppose it, and it has majority support in essentially every demographic. Amongst younger New Zealanders, support stands at around 80%. MPs will need to decide which side of history they wish to stand on. You might like to help them.

54 thoughts on “Marriage Equality – idea whose time has come

  1. Fair enough, Shunda. I hope and expect that in your old age, you are able to look back on this and wonder what the fuss was about.

  2. Well guys, I am still going to stand by my “old tree” with my placard and quietly protest.

    If my government changes the law I will reluctantly accept it and I will mourn the loss of something I hold dear.

    I will not persecute gay couples, I will not join in with those that truly are bigoted, but I will make my protest and I will stand firm on what I believe is important.

    Marriage enabled my wife and I to escape our dysfunctional families and escape organised religion (though we still hold a faith of sorts) and just like Kevin Hague has concerns for gay youth, I have concerns for young heterosexual couples trying to make sense of male/female relationships, family, and child rearing in this confusing society of ours.

    My protest is based on my perception that marriage could (once again) be of real value to young heterosexual couples, my wife and I would never have been able to overcome certain things without the marriage ideals we hold.

    I know for some people, exactly the reverse is true regarding marriage, but that is not my experience, it was a life saver for both of us and enabled us to give our kids a better chance at life than we had (initially).

    This is why I feel so strongly about redefining marriage.

    I honestly can’t view this issue from a gay persons perspective, because homosexuality is foreign to me, all I have is my experience as a straight male. But whatever happens I will try to maintain an open mind and I will certainly watch and learn, and I will adjust my opinion accordingly.

    For the mean time, I am going to protest change.

  3. Why do you have to always link this issue to past civil rights abuses?

    Because it’s relevant.

    At best, even Kevin Hague seems to accept this is more about a legality issue than a human rights issue.

    It’s usually both, but in this case, I was discussing legality.

    Tradition has value as a societal anchor, and I value this particular tradition quite highly, nothing sinister in that.

    Which I didn’t imply.

    A conservative can just as likely be someone that drives a Toyota (reliable), builds a house with eaves (doesn’t leak), and believes marriage is between a man and a woman, it doesn’t mean they hate gays, blacks, or think male chauvinism is a good thing.

    Of course not, but it could, and often did in the past, and such people were also seen as normal in their day.

    I get sick to death of people like yourself pushing me into a group that I don’t belong in.

    You raised the issue of concerns of conservatives. You seem to want to say anything you please without being challenged.

    The tactics people often use in this debate are appalling, and that in itself reeks of illegitimacy.

    Totally agree. Stop it.

  4. Shunda, society evolves – yet those supporting the existing order of rule will advocate that its tradition should remain intact. Some even claim that tradition has the mandate of God.

    Just about everyone draws a line – supports change only so far (and many find themselves redrawing their preferred line during their own lifetime).

    Those who proposed emancipation for slaves did not fight for the emancipation of women and those who later did, still did not take up the cause of same sex individuals and or couples. Those who opposed emancipation for slaves and for women have not been replaced since by those advocating we return to their order of rule – so the tide of history turned against them.

    People do not cite the past to belittle those who oppose change in the present, just to show that change has occured and that those who propose a new change think it is also a just one.

  5. – Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE (Labour, Associate Minister of Justice):
    1st Reading “Through the Civil Union Bill, the Government …is also confirming that in New Zealand marriage remains solely available to a man and a woman. Marriage will continue to be covered by a separate Act and recognised as a separate institution. …The social, religious, and traditional values associated with marriage will remain”

    So what changed?

  6. Why do you have to always link this issue to past civil rights abuses?

    At best, even Kevin Hague seems to accept this is more about a legality issue than a human rights issue.

    Tradition has value as a societal anchor, and I value this particular tradition quite highly, nothing sinister in that.

    A conservative can just as likely be someone that drives a Toyota (reliable), builds a house with eaves (doesn’t leak), and believes marriage is between a man and a woman, it doesn’t mean they hate gays, blacks, or think male chauvinism is a good thing.

    I get sick to death of people like yourself pushing me into a group that I don’t belong in.

    The tactics people often use in this debate are appalling, and that in itself reeks of illegitimacy.

  7. Conservatives at the time challenged the civil union legislation because they saw this day coming and they were roundly dismissed as “paranoid”.

    Yet here we are.

    Of course, Meyt didn’t say you were paranoid, just wrong. But you were right to see the inevitability of these changes. I’ll bet some conservatives even argued against making homosexuality legal in part because it would lead one day to marriage being undermined. Once homosexuality was no longer outlawed it was only a matter of time before other rights sensibly accrued. That’s how civilisation is supposed to work.

  8. Here are the full paragraphs from which you’ve cherry picked. The context is instructive:

    Marriage as understood in our society, and as formalised in law, is a specific culturally and historically bound institution. Contrary to the beliefs of some, this institution is not universal but stems out of a particular Christian tradition. That is nothing to be ashamed of. I encourage those who try to claim that marriage is universal to embrace the particular historical and cultural tradition from which marriage was born.

    Others have tried to explain how the bill will undermine the institution of marriage. I have not found any single compelling argument as to how allowing some to solemnise their relationship through a civil union, which then entitles them to recognition under the law, will undermine the institution of marriage. This bill does not affect the Marriage Act. It does not change in any way the structure, the validity, of the institution of marriage. Those who consider marriage a divine responsibility of God will know that human law cannot disturb divine law, so therefore nothing that we do in this Chamber will undermine the divinity of marriage.

    The Greens have always supported marriage equality and argued for it then. This debate was about civil unions and Meyt was reacting to those who tried to claim that even this undermined marriage when of course it doesn’t.

  9. Here is a comment made during the civil union debate a few years ago.

    METIRIA TUREI (Green):
    1st Reading “Marriage as understood in our society, and as formalised in law, is a specific culturally and historically bound institution. …This bill does not affect the Marriage Act. It does not change in any way the structure, the validity, of the institution of marriage.”

    So what has changed?

    Conservatives at the time challenged the civil union legislation because they saw this day coming and they were roundly dismissed as “paranoid”.

    Yet here we are.

  10. Good reply shunda.

    As I put is earlier, everything that made marriage traditional and natural can be overturned by our exercise of free will in our human dominion, legally and scientifically.

    We have choices to make about where we draw the line (the ethical dilemmas are also there in the euthanasia debate).

    However I do not see the sustainable or conservationist stewardship premise as particularly left wing. Sure the economic system of capitalism (profit motive) is problematic – but the socialist economies have been poor stewards of the environmental estate.

    Frankly creating a child in the lab from the DNA of 2 adults who pair off and seek to raise children does not concern me – it will help infertile men and women have children too. It’s just the next step in fertility services. The consequence is a child just like any other – there is no change in humanity.

    As for health application – where the genetics of the 2 parents (to be) are problematic (however the child is made), we aspire to keep people alive and well. We confront “nature” when we accept the pig valve and the pacemaker in the human heart. As to how far we go to genetically engineeer a child of two parents who might otherwise pass on health problems to their children – who knows where the line will be drawn when our potential here grows.

    It’s too easy to characterise the Green position as simply opposed to GE, it’s more of a support for preserving the natural estate – thus of a wariness of field trials. But it’s not of any blanket opposition to lab work.

  11. SPC, I think I am starting to understand the angle you are coming from and I’m trying my best to see it from your perspective, but the whole idea of shifting human procreation from normal ‘mating’ to this lab based stuff seems very unnatural and unethical.
    At what point do we accept the limitations of our biology? surely it isn’t unreasonable to accept that part of being gay means you can’t procreate with your lover?
    But, as you say, if the possibility is there (no matter how artificial) then all that stands in the way is those pesky morals.

    Personally I think the other potential applications of such technology should send a shiver down everyone’s spine, I would have thought those of a left leaning persuasion would be horrified at the prospect quite frankly, but perhaps not.

    This “free will human dominion” you keep referencing has me a bit confused. Is this something you see as a good thing or just ‘the way it is’? It seems very similar to some destructive Christian doctrines I was once exposed to (though to be honest I don’t think the bible even teaches it) so I am a bit confused on your angle on this.

    I personally tend to see a ‘stewardship’ model as the most sustainable way humans could/should live on this planet, and I actually thought this would be more compatible with left wing thinking.

    If we do accept a stewardship model for our use of the earths resources, interaction with the environment and developing societies morals, wouldn’t it make sense to limit our use of technology in unnatural circumstances (GE for example) and self limit our decisions based on these morals?

    It seems to me that on certain issues left wing activists are playing both sides of the field or just plain confused, I am genuinely interested in how you see this.

  12. shunda, society evolves – it is inevitable that same sex couples will want to have children of their genetics and scientific advances will enable this. This will occur in nations where there is access to civil unions or marriages for them. It is also inevitable that genetic research will enable parents to breed children free of afflictions that they have or might pass on via normal procreation and so they will seek this help. This no matter whether the two parents are hetero couples or same sex. All of the above is a natural consequence of couples pairing off and wanting the best for their offspring. Traditionally we call this marriage and family.

    Thus the illusion of the age of a hetero-sexual monopoly of the marriage bed is coming to an end (it was an illusion, as all those homosexual men and lesbian women who were once forced into being part of it by community prejudice would be aware). But now they can share in the marriage and family ideals as same sex couples to the extent that they choose – just like heterosexuals.

    So you see inclusion of others within marriage as a tearing down of an institution that belongs to only some – and see their inclusion as a lowering of standards. Your words and attitude to sharing the marriage with those with a different sexuality to yourself.

    You conclude by saying that if we are honest I must agree with your paranoia/conspiracy theory about those who support inclusion of homosexuals within marriage? You are accusing the majority of the people of this and some other countries of hating heterosexual couples and their ideals. I suppose to express your fear of being in a “hated and persecuted minority” because a majority do not agree with you and are changing a law in a way you do not like. That’s called democracy – it’s part of our free will human dominion.

    PS The people supporting this also support WFF, and out of a preference to disperse tax credits/cuts to those with children to support.

  13. I want to make it very clear that I don’t see gay people as second class citizens and in no way do I support anyone being persecuted.

    Fine. I haven’t accused you of those things.

    I really don’t like the way my position is being likened to the oppression of black people or male chauvinism, my objection marriage being redefined is not the same as a racist, chauvinist 1950′s American male.

    Didn’t do that either. I said I thought you were sincere. But you can’t argue that the state can’t influence the amount of prejudice in society and not expect a few obvious counterexamples in response.

    This issue is not even close to being a clear violation of rights like those issues were and I think it is disingenuous to suggest it is, this issue is much more confused and discussion shouldn’t be shut down by trowing in such unfair examples.

    Sorry, that’s a straw man. I’m not trying to shutdown discussion, but when I think your arguments are flawed, I’ll certainly say so.

  14. I want to make it very clear that I don’t see gay people as second class citizens and in no way do I support anyone being persecuted.

    I really don’t like the way my position is being likened to the oppression of black people or male chauvinism, my objection marriage being redefined is not the same as a racist, chauvinist 1950’s American male.

    This issue is not even close to being a clear violation of rights like those issues were and I think it is disingenuous to suggest it is, this issue is much more confused and discussion shouldn’t be shut down by trowing in such unfair examples.

  15. Sure it’s part of our nature, but it is naive to say the laws of the land can’t affect whether there is more or less prejudice in society.

    And it’s just as naive to say they do.

    No, it would be ridiculous to think that defining a black person as 2/3 of a white person, as the US used to do, had no affect on people’s views of black people when in fact it justified their prejudice and enabled them to discriminate.

    The argument that I shouldn’t feel threatened by gay marriage is just as acceptable the other way round,

    Agreed, gay people should not feel threatened by heterosexual marriage.

    so why are gay people so insecure that they can accept they’re different one moment then have to feel they the same the next?

    You’re confused. This is about their difference not being used to exclude them from a legal institution.

    The gay community seems to love exclusivity, hell, they even have their own version of the Olympic games. They set the precedent for sexual orientation based exclusivity, accept (it seems) when it comes to someone like my self wanting our own heterosexual institution.

    The Olympics is not a state institution.

    This is a religious war fought by nutters on both sides: the ‘God hates fags’ crowd, and the post modernist social progressives crowd (for want of a better description).

    I don’t think Kevin, nor anyone posting here is arguing religiously, or otherwise illogically. I think you trot this argument out to make yourself look more reasonable.

    I don’t have a “church” and I am not interested in the organized church’s opinion on most anything, I am interested in retaining an expression of commitment in a heterosexual context as I believe it has value in our society the way it is.

    I accept you are sincere, but think you are just wrong.

    You should note I am not even opposed to gay adoption, that should be for the state to decide based on set criteria. However, the state should NOT be getting involved in the traditions of it’s citizens and should certainly not be redefining them because of the demands of a tiny minority. I feel like I am the victim of bigotry quite frankly.

    Sorry you feel that way and again accept you are sincere, but that’s ridiculous.

  16. Sure it’s part of our nature, but it is naive to say the laws of the land can’t affect whether there is more or less prejudice in society.

    And it’s just as naive to say they do. The argument that I shouldn’t feel threatened by gay marriage is just as acceptable the other way round, so why are gay people so insecure that they can accept they’re different one moment then have to feel they the same the next?
    The gay community seems to love exclusivity, hell, they even have their own version of the Olympic games. They set the precedent for sexual orientation based exclusivity, accept (it seems) when it comes to someone like my self wanting our own heterosexual institution.

    This is a religious war fought by nutters on both sides: the ‘God hates fags’ crowd, and the post modernist social progressives crowd (for want of a better description).
    There are well meaning people caught in between on both sides of the argument, not that anyone is listening to them though, this was always a war between extremists. You are lucky the Christian bigots look the most nasty because it wouldn’t have turned out this way on the strength of the argument for change alone.

    We’re not talking about it as a religious institution, but as a state institution. You can still do what you want in your chuch and no one will force you to do differently.

    I don’t have a “church” and I am not interested in the organized church’s opinion on most anything, I am interested in retaining an expression of commitment in a heterosexual context as I believe it has value in our society the way it is.

    You should note I am not even opposed to gay adoption, that should be for the state to decide based on set criteria. However, the state should NOT be getting involved in the traditions of it’s citizens and should certainly not be redefining them because of the demands of a tiny minority. I feel like I am the victim of bigotry quite frankly.

  17. We did not extend the vote for women by establishing separate but equal electorates for women to elect women into parliament.

    There is no logical reason why this would be so, having a vagina should have no bearing on whether a citizen can vote or not.
    Silly comparison.

    Marriage is not an unchanging institution, it reflects the society in which it occurs – polygamy sanctioned or not, divorce prohibited or not, marriages outside of racial groups prohibited or not.

    Accepted.

    The only thing that made it in any way heterosexual historically (one cannot ignore that many homosexual men and lesbian women were in these marriages and were parents in them) was the obvious factor of male and female breeding.

    And male/female breeding is how every child to date has been naturally born. Heterosexual couples have a huge point of difference.

    Now that we are in the age when we can merge the genetics of two same sex parents to create a new human life it is possible for same sex partners to also “marry” and have children.

    It would also be possible to merge two sports stars, (perhaps from Sonny Bill and Dan Carter), two best friends, John Key and John Banks, Margaret Thatcher and Jenny Shipley.
    You seem completely oblivious to the can of moral worms this would open up. You aren’t talking about gay marriage, you are talking about a societal epoch.

    Thus the illusion of the age of a hetero-sexual monopoly of the marriage bed is coming to an end(it was an illusion as all those homosexual men and lesbian women who were part of it would be aware).

    Once again, you are appealing to the imaginary dysfunctional person as justification for the removal of marriage ideals.

    If it’s too hard, start your own tradition with a lowered bar, but no, you want to lower my bar too because (if we are honest) you detest people like my wife and I and our ideals.

    This is about a tearing down, not an ‘adding to’.

  18. The institution of heterosexual marriage does not fuel prejudice one iota, prejudice will exist no matter how many laws are redefined, abolished, or introduced, prejudice is an unfortunate part of our nature.

    Sure it’s part of our nature, but it is naive to say the laws of the land can’t affect whether there is more or less prejudice in society.

    I see marriage not as a religious institution, but a heterosexual tradition and in this regard it seems absurd to me to redefine it.

    We’re not talking about it as a religious institution, but as a state institution. You can still do what you want in your chuch and no one will force you to do differently.

    I value marriage for much the same reason you have concerns for queer youth, I see it as an extremely important tradition for heterosexual men and women to raise their genetic offspring, we need this Kevin, it is as simple as that.

    And you have it. Enjoy.

    What is wrong with having an exclusive heterosexual tradition? why can’t men and women have something that recognizes the noble commitment of two separate sexes to live together and work out life and child rearing together?

    It’s not for the state to enforce your traditions.

    Same sex relationships are different to heterosexual relationships in this regard and I see no harm in recognizing this fact in an exclusive tradition.

    No one is stopping you from glorifying in your special relationship.

    We don’t even need to mention religion to make a strong argument to retain marriage as an exclusive heterosexual relationship.

    I don’t think the argument is strong at all.

    I don’t want to persecute anyone or deny anyone happiness, I just want to retain something I see as an important component to my life and our society.

    The times, they are a changin’.

    Why can’t gay couples create their own tradition? what is wrong with diversity in this regard?

    Kevin has answered this quite adequately.

  19. Uh oh, Valis has engaged in the whole “nasty quip response tactic” to feign authority on the subject and to hide a lack of a real opinion.

    Of course you know better than saying I lack an opinion.

    Unlike you Valis, I based my response on something SPC actually said.

    I quoted you. I think you’ve said it twice in this thread.

    So you think GE humans are ok too then I assume?

    You shouldn’t assume so much.

  20. We did not extend the vote for women by establishing separate but equal electorates for women to elect women into parliament. While we installed Maori electorates we allowed Maori to vote on either roll.

    Marriage is not an unchanging institution, it reflects the society in which it occurs – polygamy sanctioned or not, divorce prohibited or not, marriages outside of racial groups prohibited or not.

    The only thing that made it in any way heterosexual historically (one cannot ignore that many homosexual men and lesbian women were in these marriages and were parents in them) was the obvious factor of male and female breeding.

    Now that we are in the age when we can merge the genetics of two same sex parents to create a new human life it is possible for same sex partners to also “marry” and have children. Thus the illusion of the age of a hetero-sexual monopoly of the marriage bed is coming to an end (it was an illusion as all those homosexual men and lesbian women who were part of it would be aware).

  21. The tradition of voting and property rights was once reserved for men (sometimes only white men). But there was no reason this should have remained exclusively so, and it did not.

    Yet there is a reason why marriage should remain a heterosexual institution and it is being roundly ignored. Other human rights abuses were (are) based in chauvinism or racism, a tradition is an entirely different issue. It is like me demanding to be part of Ngai Tahu and getting upset when I’m not allowed to.

    Homosexual is not heterosexual, there is a difference, not the same (cue sesame street), no one is being denied their human rights, you can’t demand someone’s tradition as part of an appeal to human rights.

    The tradition in so far as for raising genetic offspring – now includes step-parents (after divorce and re-marriage). Some fathers and mothers later form new relationships with same sex partners (who want to adopt the others birth children).

    Then change the adoption laws!!
    That others can’t live up to the ideals of marriage (or picked the wrong partner in the fist place) is their error to resolve, not mine.

    The tradition needs to adapt to same sex parents having children while in relationship (via surrogates or sperm donors for now but also in the future via the lab).

    All possible through civil union legislation which is about legal equality, so why are we even talking about marriage?

  22. The tradition of voting and property rights was once reserved for

    Oh, I see, you lack a robust response so you link to past abuses of rights, as if that has any bearing on anything at all.

    I’ll give you a tip, it doesn’t.

    Let the issue stand on it’s own for goodness sake.

  23. The tradition of voting and property rights was once reserved for men (sometimes only white men). But there was no reason this should have remained exclusively so, and it did not.

    The tradition in so far as for raising genetic offspring – now includes step-parents (after divorce and re-marriage). Some fathers and mothers later form new relationships with same sex partners (who want to adopt the others birth children).

    The tradition needs to adapt to same sex parents having children while in relationship (via surrogates or sperm donors for now but also in the future via the lab).

  24. Ok then, lets go back to my original comment:

    The institution of heterosexual marriage does not fuel prejudice one iota, prejudice will exist no matter how many laws are redefined, abolished, or introduced, prejudice is an unfortunate part of our nature.

    I see marriage not as a religious institution, but a heterosexual tradition and in this regard it seems absurd to me to redefine it.

    The State has no business in redefining the traditions of it’s citizens, but it does have a mandate to ensure legal equality and the civil unions legislation fulfilled that requirement. If there is an issue with adoption, that is a separate issue, there is no reason this couldn’t be resolved independently of redefining marriage.

    I value marriage for much the same reason you have concerns for queer youth, I see it as an extremely important tradition for heterosexual men and women to raise their genetic offspring, we need this Kevin, it is as simple as that.

    What is wrong with having an exclusive heterosexual tradition? why can’t men and women have something that recognizes the noble commitment of two separate sexes to live together and work out life and child rearing together?

    Same sex relationships are different to heterosexual relationships in this regard and I see no harm in recognizing this fact in an exclusive tradition.

    We don’t even need to mention religion to make a strong argument to retain marriage as an exclusive heterosexual relationship.

    I don’t want to persecute anyone or deny anyone happiness, I just want to retain something I see as an important component to my life and our society.

    Why can’t gay couples create their own tradition? what is wrong with diversity in this regard?

  25. The issue of GE in so far as human fertility for same sex partner parenting is concerned is only part of it (no more GE of a human than when male and female parents are common ancestors of a child via procreation or fertility assistance), parents who might pass on genetic problems to their children might resort to it to ensure thir children do not inherit any condition they might otherwise be passed on. Most of the lab work done now is in this area – health application.

  26. Uh oh, Valis has engaged in the whole “nasty quip response tactic” to feign authority on the subject and to hide a lack of a real opinion.

    Unlike you Valis, I based my response on something SPC actually said.

    So you think GE humans are ok too then I assume?

    Nice.

  27. shunda, a poll that says the majority of the people accept having marriage open to all is acceptance that the tradition has had its day. We once had marriage controlled by the church, society moved on. We once had government controlled by kings, we moved on.

    The tradition of man is not writ in stone so that we must bow down to it and those ruling over us. We are in dominion and we decide what traditions remain and in what form.

    The argument for a different term for partnership agreements based on the sexuality of the couple still being equal founders on the the lack of equal recognition within our own law and lack of international recognition (the latter of which we cannot change and many of us are now living overseas).

    The term marriage has already been redefined overseas in those countries where marriage law has already been reformed. The current President of the USA has recognised this. If he as a political candidate in that country can do it, then the tradition will change. The slaves will be freed, whites will marry blacks, the illegal migrants will get citizenship and segregation in the schools and the marriage bed will end.

    Some people can associate the former tradition with their God and continue to hold to it in their synogogues, churches and mosques and await justification at Advent – that is the tree you are allowed to retain – we have freedom of religion. We also have the right to go to the mountain top and win our freedom from past orders of rule. Conservatives fear this fact about our human dominion on Earth, but even those of faith – in the end – concede that this is our (God given) birthright.

  28. So you finally come out and state that you oppose including all partners having access to the right to marry

    I said that right from the start.

    I am beginning to think that your are basing your argument with me not so much on what I am saying, but on who you perceive me to be.

    But I will say that I find the idea of genetically manufacturing humans abhorrent, whether done by gay lovers or two hetero best friends. I also think that you very nicely expose the reasons why others have said this issue could be a slippery slope to more disturbing agendas.

    I liken my opposition to gay marriage as wanting to save an old building or an old tree from being removed, I see no reason why the gay community couldn’t build or plant a new tree beside the one I value.

    But your contribution here leads me to believe this could be the thin edge of the wedge for a whole another agenda than just gay marriage.

    Which is perhaps why the old building or tree has to be removed……

  29. Really?

    This particular debate ensued from my comment

    Everything that made marriage traditional and natural CAN be overturned by our exercise of free will in our human dominion, legally and scientifically.

    What we choose to do is for us to then determine.

    I know of no one for GE in all cases, or opposed to it in all cases – so your point about people being selective where they draw the line is a silly comment. Everyone draws a line somewhere – but we do not always agree all the time where that line is.

    So you finally come out and state that you oppose including all partners having access to the right to marry. You drew a clear line for once on that. Hardly in the moderate centre, given polls indicating evey subset of the population (by age and area or gender) supports including same sex partners within marriage – only Christians seem evenly divided on it.

  30. SPC, you are advocating the genetic engineering of human life, telling me to get off my high horse is simply a diversion, you can’t be for GE one minute and against it the next.

    And for the record, I am not the one on my high horse, I am saying the status quo should remain regarding heterosexual marriage, others are screaming at me ‘from aloft’ that “I ought not think that”.

    Perhaps a bit of projection going on here me thinks…..

  31. I simply responded to your points and questioned why you made them – you choose not to answer these. You were making baseless and ridiculous statements that you cannot defend – that does not make you a bigot, just less than credible.

    Your inference, that both liberals and more conservative fundamentalists are the extremists whereas others like yourself are somehow the only reasonable moderate voice, is typical of the “one true cult critic” of the wider world that others have dominion in (left or right, secular liberal or religious fundamentalist/establishment). That does not make the many individuals who claim that throne particularly astute or insightful (wise) in their opinion.

    You ask me a question, after refusing to answer any of mine. Really?

    I had already noted how you regarded pairing two sets of human genes for child creation as manufacturing (this could be done for male and female, two males and two females). You presume that Greens wariness of GE field trials (contamination of the commons or natural world environment) would mean they would oppose fertility treatment extending a little further where genetic capability is increasing). Much of the genetic study is actually being done for health purposes, this occurs in the lab, Greens have had no problem with it.

  32. SPC, now moves to paint me as the bigot monster that I have to be to give legitimacy to his (or her) perspective on this.

    What doesn’t go unnoticed is the remarkable similarity this perspective has compared to dominion theology of American style Christianity, all be it without the involvement of a deity.

    I guess you have no particular issue with GE foods/animals either SPC?

  33. Shunda, I do realise you oppose parliament dealing with equality in both marriage law and adoption at the same time. Thus the proposed legislation without actually opposing either directly. It’s called an obstruction and delaying tactic. Given polling it’s the only tactic left in the box.

    As for your frankly sly and malicious inferences.

    Why is same sex parent child conception, ordering a child, but not for heterosexuals?
    Why is support for children linked to denial of children for gay parents?
    Why do you link fertility assistance to (gays) as an attempt to ownership and control ownership of offspring?
    Why is fertility help to hetero parents different to fertilty help to same sex parents – the latter manufacturing?

    The attempt to separate out adoption of children by gays with their having children is a little disingenuous. Most children adopted by same sex couples are children of either partner – very few are adopted from the pool available for other couples. Some children are those of same sex fathers and mothers who help each other have children – this can lead to 4 parents (the partners of the father and mother becoming adoptive parents).

    Now, labelling genetic assistance for same sex couples to have children as some sort of manufacturing children as lifestyle accessories – is a little belittling of similar help to aging women and infertile couples let alone those gays who want to be parents.

    It’s no more manufacturing than that involved in medical treatment to provide human body part replacements – such as pig valves for the heart or pacemakers. We have the capacity to save and to create life, why not use it?

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/tag/kevin_hague

  34. Where did I say anything about gay adoption? Kevin Hague has at least one child I know about, why would you think I would object to him being a father?

    My objection is the “order a child” concept that you seem to have no particular issue with.

    I really don’t get some of you ‘greens’, one minute you are (supposedly) fighting for children’s rights, the next you are suggesting producing children as chattels or lifestyle accessories.

    I have never seen my children as possessions or an extension of myself or my genetics, that implies ownership and the right to dominate their future.
    The acceptance of methods you describe would enable a whole host of destructive motivations for child rearing.

    I am sure many gay people would agree with me on this, because part of accepting who we are is accepting the realities of who we are, ie, some of us simply can’t do what others do, and that is ok if you are secure in who you are.

    Manufacturing humans is a hell of a lot different to fertility treatment, they are completely different.

  35. Nuclear weapons, God law and authority to kill and nuclear family, sex love and marriage. Gotta “love” the innate acceptance of living with the bomb, but a fear of same sex couples being able to either adopt or breed children.

    Or is this just an unwitting expose of the resistance to love and inclusion of all that resides behind all supremacism.

  36. Really? The statement is simply a fact.

    Everything that made marriage traditional and natural CAN be overturned by our exercise of free will in our human dominion, legally and scientifically.

    Humanity is sovereign and has the capacity to do things – then decides whether to do so. Whether those who claim to know the mind of God approve or not. Is that the part you have a problem with?

    Already infertile couples are made fertile – is this wrong? Why should other couples who want children in their our image be denied it either? At the moment they can only make their parents grandparents with the help of each others brothers sperm or sisters eggs/surrogate womb.

    Am I really the guy arguing a point on that other thread you mention – I simply made a one line comment in that thread (and that was in response to one of your asides, not on that topic – about men who claimed the right to rule in the name of God being the problem).

    But on topic here, some nations capable of developing nuclear weapons choose not to do so, those that have done so can choose to reduce their arsenal or disarm entirely. Already some nations have closed down their biological and chemical weapons capability or their capacity with landmines.

    What’s really inconsistent is your idea that dismissal of disarmament because we cannot go back, and then your rejection of same sex procreation despite the scientific advances that enable it. I suppose your moral oar is not in peacemaking but in prohibition of what others can or cannot do with their bodies or genes.

    The idea that they can have marriages approved by you, if they forgo adopting children or breeding them with fertility help is I suppose what they call of a natural conservatism. Civil unions grudgingly last decade, then maybe marriages if on conditions this decade, next you will be at the birth of a three parented child, or a child of a same sex couple genetics, in the 2020’s.

  37. SPC has unwittingly revealed the true agenda of some of those involved in this debate, and a sinister disturbing agenda at that.

    It is one thing to accept people as different and accept that individuals exist with anomalies that shouldn’t be discriminated against.

    But this statement:

    Everything that made marriage traditional and natural can be overturned by our exercise of free will in our human dominion, legally and scientifically.

    is an appalling path to contemplate, it is immoral and exactly why people like me are opposed to the idea of gay marriage, not because of people like Kevin Hague, but because of people like SPC.

    I find it ironic that on one thread this guy is arguing against nuclear weapons, and on this thread arguing for a fundamental alteration to the very core of human procreation.

    Be in no doubt, a vote for gay marriage will find gay couples (like Kevin Hague and his partner) quickly pushed aside so ideologues can get on with their dual agenda.

    It’s not something that would happen immediately, but once that track has begun it will not be turned back, just like nuclear weapons.
    Screwing with human procreation is not necessary or acceptable.

  38. Yet the meaning of the term civil union is a very recent thing … and only existed for the purpose of legal recognition to partnerships that were (traditionally) excluded from marriage.

    The means exist to merge eggs and create a embryo/foetus/child (in the image of two women), also two women and one man, two men and one women etc.

    Everything that made marriage traditional and natural can be overturned by our exercise of free will in our human dominion, legally and scientifically.

  39. A pear isn’t an apple, A civil union isn’t a marriage. Why should the English language be changed (made even more ambiguous/confusing)only because it suits some?

    If civil-ubnionised couples are discriminated against in some ways, he discrimination could be removed in ways without arbitrarily changing the meaning of words. A language lives and changes, true, but this can’t be used to justify all sorts of nonsense.

    I have been a bachelor. I am sure this implies some discrimination. Should the term ‘bachelor’ be abolished therefore? Can I complain al all?

  40. Don’t know why people down-ticked you Shunda – seemed like an interesting point to me. Probably the down-tick means different things to different people – dislike for some, disagree for others etc.

    If you haven’t seen it already, you may like to read Tim Watkin’s thoughtful post from Pundit:

    http://pundit.co.nz/content/all-you-need-is-love-love-love-%E2%80%93-but-marriage-matters-too

    Essentially he argues that fewer and fewer people are marrying, and that if the institution is to survive it needs to adapt. This is not my prime concern, of course, but it seems closely linked to yours.

    On the point of discrimination vs perceived discrimination, it seems to me that if the law allows you to do something with your partner, that I can’t do with mine, that’s discrimination, not just a perception of it.

  41. Why should same sex couples be disadvantaged? That civil unions are not recognised by some overseas jurisdictions is enough for me to support your position Kevin.

  42. Too close

    Yep.

    Crazy isn’t it.

    But to be honest, I know a lot of people that have some pretty screwed up relationships, perhaps strong marriages aren’t all that common.

    I think this is why the institution will likely be redefined, people just don’t value it any longer, especially those my age and younger (<35).

  43. In terms of legal equality, civil unions do not have it – not for adoption (yes can be changed), not in equal recognition of the spouse in a range of areas (yes can be changed), nor across national borders – that we can do nothing about.

    The change proposed is both the simplist way of doing our internal equivalence work, and the only way in so far as across national borders.

  44. Kevin, is there real discrimination or perceived discrimination?

    It really seems to me that this issue is largely driven by radicals on both sides of the argument. You appear to be more balanced in your view point, but to be honest, you seem to be in the minority.

    To me, this whole issue seems more about a culture war than anything to do with serious human rights issues, I regret the whole situation to be honest, it has produced such ugly protests from both sides.

    I can see your point in how the state recognizes marriage (to a certain extent) but I still think it could be resolved by strengthening the civil union legislation.

    It is possible my own perspective is significantly different to how most people now see marriage (and indeed, my wife and I have been attacked for being “to close”) but I guess I still see it as important to retain the tradition as the highest ideals for a male/female relationship.

    I also accept that marriage has been abused and often used in an oppressive, destructive way,(both for men and women and their children) and with this in mind I accept what will be will be, I just wish the debate had focused on other aspects than religion and perceived human rights.

  45. Have to agree with Andrew just a bit, though I don’t care about the name used. Whatever the state calls it, that label should apply to all such relationships between two consenting adults. And all rights should of course apply equally, including adoption. Transsexual issues are an entirely separate matter, Andrew’s prejudices aside.

  46. Shunda, if marriage were just a tradition, there would, indeed be no need for equality (although please ask yourself why excluding same sex couples is necessary for you to enjoy the tradition). And indeed the gay and lesbian communities definitely do have traditions of our own.

    However the issue is that in this case, for the past several centuries, governments around the world have codified marriage in law. It would be fine by me for heterosexual couples to have an exclusive club, but it is not fine for the law to discriminate without a rational basis.

  47. The message that the State currently sends through this discriminatory law undermines these young people and fuels and gives heart to prejudice. That is why it must go

    No Kevin, I strongly disagree.

    The institution of heterosexual marriage does not fuel prejudice one iota, prejudice will exist no matter how many laws are redefined, abolished, or introduced, prejudice is an unfortunate part of our nature.

    I see marriage not as a religious institution, but a heterosexual tradition and in this regard it seems absurd to me to redefine it.

    The State has no business in redefining the traditions of it’s citizens, but it does have a mandate to ensure legal equality and the civil unions legislation fulfilled that requirement. If there is an issue with adoption, that is a separate issue, there is no reason this couldn’t be resolved independently of redefining marriage.

    I value marriage for much the same reason you have concerns for queer youth, I see it as an extremely important tradition for heterosexual men and women to raise their genetic offspring, we need this Kevin, it is as simple as that.

    What is wrong with having an exclusive heterosexual tradition? why can’t men and women have something that recognizes the noble commitment of two separate sexes to live together and work out life and child rearing together?

    Same sex relationships are different to heterosexual relationships in this regard and I see no harm in recognizing this fact in an exclusive tradition.

    We don’t even need to mention religion to make a strong argument to retain marriage as an exclusive heterosexual relationship.

    I don’t want to persecute anyone or deny anyone happiness, I just want to retain something I see as an important component to my life and our society.

    Why can’t gay couples create their own tradition? what is wrong with diversity in this regard?

  48. The state should have nothing to do with the principle of marriage – only civil union. People can still get married but it should not be a functionality recognised by the state. Why should it have anything to do with the state?

    And of course homosexuals should be able to civil unionise – just so long as they don’t adopt babies, or get freaky operations so as to try to have their own.

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