Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: How About Now?

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Here, also, is a list of how MPs voted on the Civil Union bill.

    I don't know whether that's entirely reliable on marriage equality, since there was a thick (and IMO enormously distasteful) strain of "hell, you fags have marriage in all but name STFU already" -- which is not so much missing the point, but refusing to get in the same room with it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Oh, absolutely. If you combine the Civil Union and Marriage (Gender Equality) Amendment Bill votes, you can certainly pick people who won't be supporting gay marriage.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Having recently become a marriage and CU celebrant, the "in all but name" argument really annoys me. It bugs the hell out of me that I had to apply separately to do both.

    Because if they were "the same", I shouldn't have to do that. The legislation governing them would be the same, so would the paperwork, and if I am fit to officiate one kind of ceremony, surely I am to do the other?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Emma Hart,

    If you combine the Civil Union and Marriage (Gender Equality) Amendment Bill votes, you can certainly pick people who won’t be supporting gay marriage.

    That's a fair point, but the marriage equality vote in New York only passed because four GOP state senators with less than encouraging track records crossed the floor. Since my psychic abilities are kind of crap, I wonder how deep the convictions are of many of the MPs who voted against the Civil Union Bill. Would a sound argument in favour plus having it drummed into their heads that the electoral risks range from minimal to non-existent change the landscape?

    OTOH, when you have the incumbent MP for Not-Brokeback-Mountain and her Labour opponent fudging up a storm, that spinelessness arguably is as deep as it is irrational. What really made me angry about that column from Nikki Kaye and Jacinda Adern is that they're smart and decent people; and coming out unequivocally in favour of marriage equality is going to hurt you in Ponce-on-by and Gay Lynn? Really?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    So, what about a referendum then? Obviously it would be a while before it could be voted on, but why not? If Family First can get enough people for that stupid smacking referendum then I surely this shouldn't be too hard?

    And, handily Family First could continue to use their voteno.org website (unless the question were phrased so that the 'No' option was in favour of same sex marriage).

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Please don't think I'm trolling for saying this, but I don't support same-sex marriage because I don't support such unnatural lifestyles. By which of course I mean "marriage".

    I'm not just saying that from some cynical divorcé's perspective (though there is that). Of course I support the right of people to have their relationships recognised by law, so that property rights, immigration rights and the various rights and responsibilities of child rearing can be protected. But by just expanding the definition of "marriage" from "one man and one woman in an emotionally and sexually exclusive relationship for the rest of their life" to include same-sex pairings doesn't include all the diversity of human bonds that might benefit from such protections. If anything, the standard definition is less "natural" than many of the other forms of bond that anthropologists have defined as "marriage" across the wide diversity of human culture.

    Of course, if you put me on the spot and asked me whether I want same-sex couples to have the same rights as different-sex couples, then I'd say "hell yes". But I'd rather see the definition of civil unions extended (or some entirely new set of "unions" defined) to provide people with legal recognition of their relationships, and leave it up to them to choose whatever social, cultural or religious definitions of "marriage" suits them as a celebration of their bond.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I was wrong, and I know this for sure now because we actually have polling data.

    I think you’ve missed a crucial point here – which is the change in attitudes to same-sex marriage since civil unions became law.

    From the Herald, 2004:

    The report included a Herald-DigiPoll survey of 750 people, which found that New Zealanders broadly approved of the Government’s plans to recognise gay relationships as civil unions but not as marriage.

    A majority of those polled agreed with the civil union plan (by 56 per cent to 39 per cent) but disagreed with the idea of gay marriage by almost the same margin (54 per cent to 40 per cent).

    Does anyone have any other pre-2005 poll numbers? (I’m not counting the ropey Close Up phone poll that registered huge opposition, on the basis that it was a ropey Close Up phone poll.)

    According to the new poll, support has increased by 50%. Even allowing that some old people have died since, and the general shift to acceptance in western countries, it does seem to me that civil unions have done the job many of us hoped they would.

    I suspect doubters have noted the Obvious Failure of The World To End as a result of civil unions, and perhaps even seen friends and family happily “married” by that means. Clearly, it is time to deploy Phase 2 of the Homosexual Agenda.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Beard,

    Please don’t think I’m trolling for saying this, but I don’t support same-sex marriage because I don’t support such unnatural lifestyles. By which of course I mean “marriage”.

    Do you remember that early in the CUB debate there was a group called Lesbians Who Don't Want a Bar of It?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    According to the new poll, support has increased by 50%. Even allowing that some old people have died since, and the general shift to acceptance in western countries, it does seem to me that civil unions have done the job many of us hoped they would.

    And this is one of the reasons I was in favour of civil unions, because it was clearly going to do this. Because I am, of course, an ideologically-bankrupt incrementalist. The other reason is the reason I have one: because people who want 'legal recognition of their relationship' without the traditional 'baggage' of marriage could have that. And as a cynical divorcée, that was what I wanted for me.

    But as someone who 'didn't (personally) want a bar of it', I have that option. I got the choice, everyone should have that choice, including being able to choose marriage because they are invested in it. Don't want to be married? That option already exists. Do want to be married? It may not. And marriage is, for all its emotional baggage and discriminatory history, a secular legal contract.

    Clearly, it is time to deploy Phase 2 of the Homosexual Agenda.

    Fucking ay. Though I still haven't received my copy...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Do you remember that early in the CUB debate there was a group called Lesbians Who Don't Want a Bar of It?

    And my response to such groups is the same as my response to bigots and others attempting to impose their particular values on everyone else: if you don't like same-sex marriage, then you can always not have one. If you want someone else not to have a same-sex marriage, well, sorry, that's not really your decision to make.

    The proper people to decide on individual social relationships are the individuals concerned. And if we equalise the law, they'll be able to.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tom Beard,

    But I'd rather see the definition of civil unions extended (or some entirely new set of "unions" defined) to provide people with legal recognition of their relationships, and leave it up to them to choose whatever social, cultural or religious definitions of "marriage" suits them as a celebration of their bond.

    I'd wager, though, that there are more people who want to be able to be married than people who want the government to stop calling their recognition of long-term partnerships "marriage" altogether. And, all things considered, I think it's more important for people who want to be able to marry to have that right, because marriage does still carry that social recognition. The rest can be sorted later.

    Or, you know, maybe most gay people would rather ditch marriage altogether. I'm prepared to be persuaded otherwise by data. I guess I feel that *even if that were true*, it would still be an important thing to give the people who *did* want it the right. Because it's what it says about us as a country - about how we choose to treat all our citizens - that matters.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Tom Beard,

    ut by just expanding the definition of “marriage” from “one man and one woman in an emotionally and sexually exclusive relationship for the rest of their life” to include same-sex pairings doesn’t include all the diversity of human bonds that might benefit from such protections.

    And I am, of course, in favour of legal recognition of relationships that involve more than two people. Like I said, dirty incrementalist, one thing at a time.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    But by just expanding the definition of “marriage” from “one man and one woman in an emotionally and sexually exclusive relationship for the rest of their life”...

    Wait, that's the definition of Marriage? Damn there's a lot of people who need to be reading the fine print.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 223 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Do you remember that early in the CUB debate there was a group called Lesbians Who Don't Want a Bar of It?

    At the time I said that anyone who tried to pull a shotgun wedding on any dyke of my acquaintance would live to rue the day. Not long and comfortably, but the rue would be epic.

    I guess I feel that *even if that were true*, it would still be an important thing to give the people who *did* want it the right.

    + infinity minus one, Lucy. To be frank, GLBT who don't give a shit about marriage equality are entitled to their view. But they really better think long and hard about why they're OK with being told that a bleeding obvious inequality in law is as good as it gets.

    It's about as fuck-witted as saying "Hell, I don't like children so why don't we STFU about homophobic inequality in adoption law and move on to some real issues". It's a very real issue to plenty of GLBT people and if I want others to respect my non-Borgness I've got to repay the courtesy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tom Beard,

    But I’d rather see the definition of civil unions extended (or some entirely new set of “unions” defined) to provide people with legal recognition of their relationships, and leave it up to them to choose whatever social, cultural or religious definitions of “marriage” suits them as a celebration of their bond.

    Wait a moment, chap -- that's pretty damn close to the perfectly principled libertarian position that the State shouldn't be in the 'marriage business' at all. Until then, could I haz equality before the law as it stands while my 66 year old partner can still make it up the aisle without being converted into a Dalek first?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tim Hannah,

    Wait, that’s the definition of Marriage? Damn there’s a lot of people who need to be reading the fine print.

    Personally I’m in favour of getting back to the truly traditional “formally acknowledge people who want to profitably combine their assets and establish kinship bonds between their extended families, the results to be invested in their mutual heirs” definition.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Personally I’m in favour of getting back to the truly traditional “formally acknowledge people who want to profitably combine their assets and establish kinship bonds between their extended families, the results to be invested in their mutual heirs” definition

    Could we manage something where you can opt to explicitly NOT "establish kinship bonds between extended families"? Because that would be... quite useful.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Gee,

    Why aren't we saying, very loudly and publicly, you know what? Yous were wrong about Homosexual Law Reform. Yous were wrong about Civil Unions. The sky didn't fall. In fact, nothing bad happened at all. You're also wrong about same-sex marriage. Our current marriage law is unjust, it's unfair, it's discriminatory and it needs to change.

    +1.
    Time for a Respectable Demure Legally-Bound-People Stroll perhaps?

    I'm not website-clever, but it strikes me there's a place for a blog/site devoted to sharing feedback from candidates across the country on this issue....

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 75 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Could we manage something where you can opt to explicitly NOT “establish kinship bonds between extended families”? Because that would be… quite useful.

    Have them live on different islands. It's a good start. I imagine different countries would work even better.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Hi Emma.

    So really, the only way a party refusing to support same-sex marriage makes any sense is if their target voters are old.

    I'm nitpicking, but to me it makes perfect sense for a party to oppose same-sex marriage if that's what its members (and donars) want.

    Target voters are just a means to an end for a political party, and there are plenty of unrelated reasons why a target voter might support a party irrespective of its stance on same-sex marriage. The only reason for a party to change its policy for voters is if those voters suddenly start making it an issue and saying they'll switch support because of it. I'd guess most voters still don't see it as directly impacting them as much as other stuff, even if they have a clear view.

    Maybe the "old people" angle is more a reflection of people who influence and run political parties, and not those who vote for them.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Have them live on different islands. It's a good start. I imagine different countries would work even better.

    It's been my solution for years. It's not as good as it seems - you end up forking out big time for airfares, and going nowhere else for holidays.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to izogi,

    The only reason for a party to change its policy for voters is if those voters suddenly start making it an issue and saying they'll switch support because of it.

    Which is what we need to start doing. Asking candidates for their position is the first step in this. But we also need PR - editorials, letters to the editor etc.

    I'd also love to see a repeat of the civil union ad campaign, which solicited funds from around the country to fund newspaper ads. I'd happily chip in and put my name to that again.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Because I am, of course, an ideologically-bankrupt incrementalist.

    We really need to work out secret handshake for that club.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    An incremental handshake? Starts really weak, then gets stronger?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    I'm in favour of it. However, there's a difference between substantive equality issues like transgender legal equality and inclusive adoption reform that means that they need to precede any moves to introduce SSM proper. Still, at least we don't have to have a campaign to remove a ridiculous pre-emptive legislative ban like that horrible burnt umber rock outcrop to our northwest...

    Craig Y

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 367 posts Report Reply

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