Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: And a Pony. A Sparkly One.

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  • Matthew Poole,

    Children aren't dealt with via marriage/divorce, they're dealt with via parentage in NZ. That shouldn't be complicated, unless for some reason there was a refusal/inability to identify one father on the birth certificate.

    Or if all the parties to the marriage adopted the child, which would be the logical step. Either that or only list the natural mother on the birth certificate, which doesn't resolve the issue in any more-satisfactory way in the event of a relationship dissolution since the courts are less concerned with the legal niceties of parentage and much more concerned with the actualities of who's been raising the child.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Relationships are always complicated, however simple they should be.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    since the courts are less concerned with the legal niceties of parentage and much more concerned with the actualities of who's been raising the child.

    Not under the new Act. It has moved more towards both parents having a role in their child's life, and has put emphasis on the rights of the child to have a relationship with both their parents, rather than the rights of parents to see their children.

    Both parents have equal legal rights now, who is doing most of the caregiving doesn't matter.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Both parents have equal legal rights now, who is doing most of the caregiving doesn't matter.

    Yes, I know that. But we're now discussing a hypothetical polygamous marriage where there are three, or potentially more, people who all have claim to having been involved in the child's upbringing.

    Plus, my comment was directly related to the presence/absence of a father's name on the birth certificate. That he is(n't) named has no impact on any rights the courts may be willing to grant in terms of access in the event of a custody battle.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Yes, I know that. But we're now discussing a hypothetical polygamous marriage where there are three, or potentially more, people who all have claim to having been involved in the child's upbringing.

    It wouldn't matter how many people claim to have been involved in the upbringing.

    Unrelated people have no rights to access to children. Parents have primary rights. Extended family have minor rights.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    It wouldn't matter how many people claim to have been involved in the upbringing.

    Unrelated people have no rights to access to children. Parents have primary rights. Extended family have minor rights.

    And if all the members of the marriage are on the birth certificate as parents? Or have all adopted the child?

    All you're doing is reinforcing the point that a shift from monogamous marriage to bigamous/polygamous marriage is an enormous migration in all kinds of societal thought and legal institutions. The ramifications are breathtaking in scope, reaching far, far beyond a few sentences in the Marriage Act and the Civil Union Act. I just had a quick nosey at the Care of Children Act, and that Act would require a fair bit of rewriting too. The Property (Relationships) Act is another. I'm sure there are many more.

    If NZ society decides that it's an institution that should be considered, then so be it. It can be accompanied by reasoned discourse (har har har!), and some expert legal opinions as to the ramifications, and as a society we can try and debate it thoroughly. However, the fact that our current institution of marriage requires that immigrants "divorce down to a single spouse" isn't something that can or should be changed just because of that single point. It's too massive a change for that.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    All you're doing is reinforcing the point that a shift from monogamous marriage to bigamous/polygamous marriage is an enormous migration in all kinds of societal thought and legal institutions.

    Well yes. But I'd be dubious that, even if marriages of more than two people were allowed in NZ law, that the Care of Children Act would be changed. Even if there were three or more people in a marriage, only two people would be the birth parents of the child. The only complication would be if there was more than one possible father, which already occurs in our society, and is already dealt with through law.

    The Act does not recognise marriage as the basis for a relationship with children. Parentage (including adoption) are the basis. It wouldn't need to be changed if the nature of marriage changed, because it still takes a man and a woman to create a child (I'm not sure what it says about sperm donors etc, I presume that just means one legal parent). It already has components in it which could incorporate non-birth parents, as other people can have a guardianship relationship with a child as part of a legal order.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Obviously one point of the act is to make sure that someone is always responsible for the child - real families are of course much more complex and do change over time.

    I think it is important to distinguish between being parents and mothers/fathers

    For an example - I am the father of 4 children - I am the parent of 2 of them in a traditional nuclear family with my wife - I am not a parent of the other 2 who are in a family in which one can easily argue there are 5 mothers (2-4 of which are parents)

    Now we make the distinction between being a 'father' and being a 'parent' and in some sense it's our own take on that particular use of language and how it applies to our situation .

    PS: I've probably totally confused you with my description of our situation - needless to say it's all above board and kosher - and was in fact my wife's idea

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Not quite polygamy, but back in the 70s family friends (but not that close) were into swinging.
    End result, the wives left their respective husbands for other women (not sure that they became a couple themselves though).
    Possibly an acceptable form of experimentation inside the bedroom before coming out of the closet?

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Someone who just missed my point above (which was about kids and who their parents are and how there are many different ways to do it) made me want to point out that none of the families I described above are polygamous (or polyandrous) ... just different and adapted to circumstance.

    Emma: I do have polyandrous friends, they do exist, they do have kids, and don't know who are the biological Dads (on purpose), and in this case both are fathers and parents - another way of factoring it all out.

    I also used to have as neighbours in the US a female couple who had been married for years, and had biological kids - one had once been a guy but changed (they stayed married), the kids came later - yet another way to do things

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Relationships are always complicated, however simple they should be.

    ,

    Yes, I know that. But we're now discussing a hypothetical polygamous marriage where there are three, or potentially more, people who all have claim to having been involved in the child's upbringing.

    Then surely here is the" all people are equal opportunity". If one enters into any form of civil union and has it documented, then split equal if one leaves, child/ren choose who they go with. Simple? Do the paperwork first, save the emotional baggage should any part of it turn to custard.
    I am not really up with the play here but I comment anyway :)
    As a kid,( parents monogamous), I never thought it odd that amongst our extended family, (and all of whom shared a great relationship) were lesbians, bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, and hermaphrodite. No one particularly had an opinion or judged each others relationships as being unwarranted. On asking (when pretty young)about two aunties, I was told that "they like living together. I never needed any more information than that. I guess I appreciate that I still don't need any more information than that. I'll go away now :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5918 posts Report Reply

  • liam,

    Insofar as advocating* any form of marriage goes, I'm against that. I am also against someone else telling me what sort of marriage I can have.

    Morally (without getting into whose moral code we are standing on here :-)), I can't see a difference between one-to-one relationships, one-to-many, and many-to-many relationships. If the entities are equal in the eyes of the law, and there is protection against coercion then who cares how much trouble they are going to have buying a large enough bed?

    On the other hand I think one of the big stumbling blocks with recognising marriages other than one-to-one is the extra complexity in providing sound legislation to protect the rights of the parties in the relationships.

    It's not like politicians are particularly clever as a group, and look how much trouble they had with various 'gay' marriage legislations - essentially taking the existing marriage laws and removing gender references. They could have given the task to someone that passed the grammar exam back when we taught people how to write, and had the job done in an afternoon.

    Cheers, Liam

    *(advocating != allowing. Totally different concepts :-))

    NC, USA • Since Oct 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • liam,

    Robert A Heinlen was a big advocate in his writings of many-to-many marriages, and one of the prime rationals for it was to provide for the children. When ol' Lazurus Long was swanning off adventuring, or Mama Maureen was back at school learning how to be a rejuvanateress, then there were adults to look after the juveniles. It's just another variation on the traditional extended family thing that is approved of - keeping granny around to babysit.

    Having a family grouping of more than 2 adults can certainly mitigate some of the risks in supporting a family, it is likely that there is more than one 'breadwinner' - so a job loss may not be so cataclysmic. There would be more options to provide support for a parent at home to look after children.

    If one one wanting to spend the time and effort I am sure a case could be made that a traditional marriage being of only two adults is not in the best interests of the children, and should be discouraged :-). I for one would love to see politicians explain why they thought providing less protection and support for children was better.

    Cheers, Liam

    *(Regardless of using RAH's writings as an example, I do NOT advocate using RAH's writings as a guide to life)

    NC, USA • Since Oct 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    The issue would be how to prevent "family" groupings like the Kahui and Glassie versions.

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The issue would be how to prevent "family" groupings like the Kahui and Glassie versions.

    I'm sorry, but how do you mean? Prevent disfunctional family groupings or prevent extended families living in the same quarters and caring for each other's children? Not for nothing, but I think a lot of (sometimes temporarily) unfit parents could use the help of people close to them. I can think of examples.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    I meant the prevention of dysfunctional groupings, places where more adults does not mean better for the children or the adults.

    The ones where they are a family (in that they care for and take care of each other) don't make the news.

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The issue would be how to prevent "family" groupings like the Kahui and Glassie versions.

    Indeed, I think you will find that traditional monogamous married couples are perfectly capable of abusing their children. I said it a while ago on the original domestic violence thread, but abuse is caused by people who abuse, not by step-parents or rugby or microchips or welfare or whatever else we're blaming this week.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    I've thought for a while now, that the best model for "family" is a communal configuration. whether that is the traditional extended family, or a group of friends. Capitalist societies hate any form of communal grouping - the whole point is to split groups into isolated individuals who spend more on stuff for themselves alone, where
    " individual choice" is predicated as freedom - you don't have to watch broadcast TV along with everyone else, you can pick & choose whatever you want, and watch whenever - Luxury! Don't look after your own oldies in the family - make sure they still create economic turnover by turfing them into rest homes and provide clients for home services. Goodness, real mothers and fathers & grandies looking after children, when we have state ordered childcare?? Governments simply see no economic benefit in families raising & caring for their own. Seeing it as an investment in the future and saving us from having to build new prisons and spend $80k a year each on keeping prisoners, and radically reducing the costs of the bloated, can't-cope court system, or the can't-cope mental health system just doesn't seem to occur to them.

    I realise I've diverted away from the theme, but it doesn't matter to me on what basis people form their groups - it's the quality of nurture and relationships that is always important. I have no ready answer to the feral family problem - but fear the inability to solve it will result in laws that will be enacted in the public good, rather like the anti-terrorism laws are used as an excuse to spy on and restrict everybody's freedoms.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That's the concept I disagree with, that economics and social policy are independent axes. Like I say above, they're intertwined. If you favour economic liberalism, you'll wind up taking a social authoritarian stance because of the need to clean up after your economic policies.

    I disagree. I'm basically a social liberal, and the economic dimension is just something I don't give a crap about most years. I don't think they need to be tied together.

    But practically, you are right. Most of the time they do seem to be tied together - inversely. Social liberals tend to be economically left.

    I don't think it's a particularly profound graph. It's extremely popular as something for ACToids to trot out to show how different they are from National, and to explain the curious position of NZ First. But at the end of the day it's no more accurate than just one dimension at placing your political views. Which is to say both are damned inaccurate. Unfortunately it's not easy to graph hundreds of dimensions.

    Also missing from every compass I've ever seen is measuring the care factor. I mean you could ask me where I stand on a hell of a lot of issues and I might have a very extreme position. But it's also a position I don't give a stuff about. Gay marriage would be a good example. If asked what I think should be allowed, it would seem extremely liberal. If asked how much I care, it would be 'almost not at all'. Asked where I stand economically, it would be somewhat left, with again, no commitment at all. Asked where I stand on drug liberalization, it would be some way towards liberal, but I care quite a lot. Similarly with issues of national security, I'm generally in favour of peace and international solutions, and I care hugely about my quite centrist position.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    As for laws on relationships, I generally struggle to see that point. Every conceivable kind of family already exists in NZ, it's just that only a fraction of them are recognized as marriages. Whether they are recognized as marriages, they still are what they are, though. Gay people will still live together much like hetero marriages, loving one another and providing support. Endless cheating will always happen in every kind of relationship. A number of people live as though multiply married. Children fall onto the care of whoever steps up. Children will occur between people who have had no other relationship than a quick shag. Married men will have mistresses, women will have toy boys. A lot of people have no partners of any emotional significance, but have sex with lots of people. Some people get no sex. Some people pay for it.

    None of it is 'immoral'. It's just 'how it is'. Laws will not change any of this, and they definitely should not. Sex with minors should be illegal, but basically nothing else.

    What the laws do is provide some kind of framework for the difficult job of deciding what to do with people's money, and to protect children. Who has to pay for this child? Does this woman deserve half of this man's money? Should this group of people get an allowance? Should this child be in this household or that?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Rich:

    That's the concept I disagree with, that economics and social policy are independent axes. Like I say above, they're intertwined. If you favour economic liberalism, you'll wind up taking a social authoritarian stance because of the need to clean up after your economic policies.

    BenW:

    I disagree. I'm basically a social liberal, and the economic dimension is just something I don't give a crap about most years. I don't think they need to be tied together.

    But practically, you are right. Most of the time they do seem to be tied together - inversely. Social liberals tend to be economically left.

    To a certain extent, the traditional liberal-conservative divide still persists. Socially liberal centrists appear to be politically homeless - too rightist for Labour, too leftist for Nat/ACT/Libz, too liberal for Nat/NZF/UF/SoCred. Maybe there's room for a UK-style LibDem grouping? Or would Natbour (sic) leave no room for it?

    I do agree though that ACT is libertarian for economic reasons than social reasons. Their de facto idol Ayn Rand herself once remarked that homosexuality "is immoral, and more than that; if you want my really sincere opinion, it's disgusting."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4057 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My brief dalliance with ACT was on grounds of their claims of social liberality. But after hanging with a bunch of them, reading quite a few newsletters, and hearing them actually talk in person about social issues, I realized that it was mostly bs, that they were socially liberal so far as any peculiar perversions they may have had themselves were concerned, but that was the extent of it. 99% of their political energy was trained on economics and the dismantling of social welfare. I was not cut from that cloth.

    I'm not sure any party would cater for me. Labour was on the right path until they gave Anderton and Dunne power. Greens are narrowly concerned about the environment - if they are socially liberal in some ways, that appears to be an accident. The more they form into a true political party, the less I like them. ACT are socially liberal, just so long as they can crush the entire nature of every NZ institution formed in the last 50 years. NZ First have never even pretended to be liberal. National are liberal, but only when forced to be by legislation made popular by Labour.

    A sex party would be too one-issue for me. Liberality covers a whole lot more than that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    A handy explanation of how the state watches benevolently over all of us, in our best interests of course

    If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, citizen.

    Why did you try to look at that Scorpions album cover, citizen? Perhaps you need to be re-educated.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2326 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    And people might want to discuss the utter insanity of this decision as well.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2326 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And people might want to discuss the utter insanity of this decision as well.

    I ran across that yesterday here, along with another example of utter insanity:

    Chris Illingworth, a 60 year old from from QLD, has been charged with using the internet to access and publish child-abuse material after he republished a controversial viral video of a man twirling a baby around...

    If you, like millions of other people watched the video online or on the TV news, it might be time turn yourself in at your local police station.

    As far as the Simpsons video goes, it's a demonstration of the way Australia has adopted the US Red Rose position: there don't have to be any actual children involved. In fact, in Britain and the US, there doesn't have to be any actual pornography. As long as somebody says it's pornography, that's good enough.

    It's not the first time Wikipedia has been an issue either:

    Masturbation images on Wikipedia 'cross the line'.

    This is pretty much why I've ended up taking such an extreme position on net censorship: if it can be done well, why is it always being done so stupidly?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

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