Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Staying Civil

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  • Megan Wegan,

    ladyfriend

    Eeew, if someone called me that? Ack. As has been proven in these parts, I am nobody's lady.

    As Danielle says , we wimmins, we is fickle.

    But, God, it still rankles being told "STFU and get a civil union, because it's marriage in all but name, and it's the best you're ever going to get anyway". Gee, thanks...

    Yeah, the best you are ever gonna get is never really a reason to do it, is it? Also, who are these people telling you to get a civil union? Have they never heard of minding their own fecking business?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    That is assuming that marriage is the perfect and civil union are the good.

    No, it's not, Gio. that's not what Craig is saying. He's saying the 'good' is having the choice. Why do we have to decide one institution is more "meaningful" than the other? Why can't we just make sure that everyone has the same opportunities, the same choices, and then get out of the way, let them make them, and mind our own fucking business?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Other Half. Suggests you are a bit broken.

    And without her I would be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Eeew, if someone called me that? Ack. As has been proven in these parts, I am nobody's lady.

    You're my ladyfriend, Megan. (Grabbing my flak-jacket, sprinting for the nearest window.) :)

    A lot of gay campaigners beg to differ on that one.

    Perfectly true, Gio. And here's my response: I'm not interested in buying a shotgun and marching anyone up the aisle/garden path/down the road to the nearest registry office. As I said, Russell and Fiona seem perfectly happy without benefit of clergy or registered civil union celebrant. But it's all very nice for Helen Clark to say she'd have chosen a civil union if it was an option back in 1981. There's nothing stopping her and Peter from dissolving their marriage and getting civilly unified; her pals Chris Carter and Peter Kaiser can't reverse the flow. Even though they've no interest in doing so, shouldn't it be their choice?

    If folks want me to sit at the back of the bus (and most of them speaking from a position of bitterly ironic heterosexual heterosexual privilege - yes, I'm look at you Mister President), that's their choice. But don't expect a muffin basket and thank you card from me.

    Finally, it's embarrasing enough that a conservative Reagan-appointed American judge (and Dubya's Attorney-General!) get it, but our Parliament doesn't when we love to pat ourselves on the back for being so "progressive" when it comes to teh gayz. If the fucking Aussies beat us to marriage equality -- and they just might --, I'll die of shame.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Why can't we just make sure that everyone has the same opportunities, the same choices, and then get out of the way, let them make them, and mind our own fucking business?

    Because nothing comes without a struggle, and we had to pick a fight. And it wasn't simply a matter of appeasement, of aiming for what we thought we could get - "marriage in all but name" (which does indeed make civil unions sound like a crappy token concession). It's also that a number of campaigners wanted nothing to do with marriage. And I'm aware that perversely of course the fact that now we do have civil unions means it's harder to galvanise people on the other just fight of making marriage available to all. But the existing discrimination in itself still doesn't place civil unions and marriage on an objective continuum of value.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    (To which my personal corollary would be: couldn't the answer be simply that we all start drinking from the fountain marked "Coloured"?)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Because nothing comes without a struggle, and we had to pick a fight. And it wasn't simply a matter of appeasement, of aiming for what we thought we could get - "marriage in all but name" (which does indeed make civil unions sound like a crappy token concession). It's also that a number of campaigners wanted nothing to do with marriage.

    I'm aware of that, Gio, it's my position, as I've already said, that we should have civil unions anyway. But that we should also have full marriage equality. And that if that happens in Australia first, we should be incredibly embarrassed.

    But the existing discrimination in itself still doesn't place civil unions and marriage on an objective continuum of value.

    They're not legally equivalent, currently. It's not marriage in all but name. It's the sort of "marriage" where you can't legally adopt. If one form of relationship has more legal rights than the other, and it does, that's a pretty objective measure of value.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    But it's all very nice for Helen Clark to say she'd have chosen a civil union if it was an option back in 1981. There's nothing stopping her and Peter from dissolving their marriage and getting civilly unified.

    They wouldn't need to do that.

    See section 18 of the Civil Union Act: two people in a marriage may enter a civil union, which changes their marriage to a civil union (they could go the other way as well).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    You're my ladyfriend, Megan. (Grabbing my flak-jacket, sprinting for the nearest window.) :)

    You, my darling, might be the only man who can get away with that.

    And without her I would be.

    Aaaw. AAAW.

    And I'm aware that perversely of course the fact that now we do have civil unions means it's harder to galvanise people on the other just fight of making marriage available to all. But the existing discrimination in itself still doesn't place civil unions and marriage on an objective continuum of value.

    Can I just ask, but is there any appreciable difference other than the name? I should know this, but it's been 5 years, and I have forgotten things.

    [eta: ok, Emma's answered my question.]

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Because nothing comes without a struggle

    Indeed -- and I'm a direct beneficiary of Fran Wilde having the balls to fight for my civil rights, through the hate mail and death threats, the attempts to derail and kill the bill in the House, even people in her own party convinced that Homosexual Law Reform would cost Labour the '87 election.

    Same to associate health minister Katherine O'Regan -- who worked very closely with her Labour shadow Lianne Dalziel (I think), to build a multi-partisan coalition to pass the Human Right Amendment Bill with an overwhelming majority. Better late than never, in that case.

    In the end, you can't win the war if you won't even take the field.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    They're not legally equivalent, currently. It's not marriage in all but name. It's the sort of "marriage" where you can't legally adopt.

    Yes, of this I am aware. But making civil unions truly on a par with marriage and opening up marriage to same-sex couples are different issues.

    I also wonder to what extent it's possible to rectify the adoption issue. Are there any NZ children up for adoption? And if there aren't, isn't it still going to be predicated on the countries where the children are from recognising civil unions or same-sex arrangements (whether marriage or civil union or indeed both) before adoption can proceed? As the Italian consular authorities are fond of reminding me, my civil union means nothing at all back home, and entitles me to bupkis.

    (Italians, they love the Yiddish.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    OT, sorry, but:

    As has been proven in these parts, I am nobody's lady.

    reminds me of a gorgeous poem by Pat Parker, which ends with:

    "My lady is definitely no lady
    which is fine with me,

    cause I aint no gentleman."

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    (Italians, they love the Yiddish.).

    Oy, at least you're not a feygele.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    But making civil unions truly on a par with marriage and opening up marriage to same-sex couples are different issues.

    Why can't we do both?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    "My lady is definitely no lady
    which is fine with me,

    cause I aint no gentleman."

    That has been my experience, yes. ;)

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Why can't we do both?

    I think we should. But in the meantime, I also think that nobody should get married. (Just like nobody should send their kids to private school, etc. Let's refuse choice until it's truly open to everyone.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    (Just like nobody should send their kids to private school, etc. Let's refuse choice until it's truly open to everyone.)

    Vouchers for everyone!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Hahaha. Very droll.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'm not about to get divorced or downgraded to a civil union just because civil unions have lesser status, any more than I'm going to beggar myself because there are poor people. But I do think having 2 different grades of marriage is stupid appeasement to religious bigots. What government would have the cojones to get around to this kind of "minor" fix-it-up, though? I expect there's a long wait coming up and that does suck for anyone gay wanting to adopt. I suppose the workaround is having children via someone who is not your partner, and is willing, but that's a big ask, and clearly inferior in many cases to adoption.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    They're not legally equivalent, currently. It's not marriage in all but name. It's the sort of "marriage" where you can't legally adopt.

    WTF?
    Emma - have you got a link to info explaining/outlining this, and any other differences.
    Does it mean you have to be married to adopt? How about single parents?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    What bugs me about this is I love weddings and civil unions. I really really love being at an occasion that celebrates that fact two people really love each other and want to codify that love in some way. Yes that makes me a complete sap I know (I also really enjoy watching Love Actually each year at Christmas).

    Why should anyone be prevented from having that celebration codified in the way they want to.

    We are talking about one of the best things about being human, that ability to bond with and love another human, and we want to place limits on that because of some outdated tribal ceremony?

    Nobody is harmed if Craig and his partner get married. Really just because Craig gets something he wants does not take it away from anyone else. And I'm sorry but people who feel it does take something away from them are simply wrong, in the same sense that people who believe the earth is flat are wrong.

    It is wrong the we still prevent some people in our society from celebrating their love in the way they want to. It's even worse that we deny them some basic rights that unipenis couples have!

    See there, that's what I mean ... totally ruined my buzz from thinking about loving couples again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Are there any NZ children up for adoption?

    Well for starters, yes, but the numbers are 'small'.

    But... rights not important because you're not using them this week? Really?

    Does it mean you have to be married to adopt? How about single parents?

    I think we're currently in some stupid situation where gay people can adopt as solo parents, but not if they're in a stable civil union relationship. Someone might correct my memories if they're wrong.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Does it mean you have to be married to adopt?

    No. Single people may adopt. As can individuals in relationships.

    However, only "spouses" may jointly adopt. A recent court case has decided that de facto couples can be spouses and may also jointly adopt (and legal experts appear to agree that this would apply to non-married different sex couples in civil unions).

    And it will probably also apply to same-sex couples if it ever gets to court.

    p.s. joint adoption is where two people adopt one person. If an individual adopts, for example, their partner's biological child, this would remove their partner's rights.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Nobody is harmed if Craig and his partner get married. Really just because Craig gets something he wants does not take it away from anyone else.

    Sure, and as I've said repeatedly, people who get squicky about homos getting hitched need to deal with it, or at the very least be honest about the real grounds for their opposition. Some folks also don't approve of marriages where the parties are of different races, religions or widely disparate in age (my parents ticked all three boxes), but the Marriage Act doesn't indulge them. And shouldn't.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Yes that makes me a complete sap I know

    I'm waving at Bart: come over here to Saps' Corner. We have tissues. The kind with aloe vera.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

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