Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: How About Now?

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  • Greville Whittle,

    My view is that marriage should be availible all couples regardless of gender. It sticks in my craw that I could get married simply because the person I happen to love is female, and my sister can't marry her partner because they have a penis-free relationship.

    The law discriminates, it's unfair and not right to deny people what I see as a basic right. End of story.

    Hamiltron • Since Oct 2008 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, 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.

    Well, not quite - and honestly, I rather doubt that the GOP state senators who flipped their votes because thousands of registered Democrats pledged to flip their votes on a single issue. But they were hearing a lot from moderate and gay-friendly conservatives who were saying "this isn't about the homosexual agenda but about real harm being done to real human beings." I'll have to dig up a link, but I believe one poll showed a very strong correlation between support for marriage equality and people who knew openly gay people in their families or close social circles.

    I would say never underestimate how powerful an "issue" is when it's not framed as a clash of abstract collective nouns but on a human, even intimate scale.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Craig Young,

    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.

    Can I call "why don't we focus on the real issues?" bingo on that? I didn't see how adoption law reform precluded marriage equality when Nikki Kaye was talking that dog out for a walk, and you've not clarified matters any. Can't legislators walk and chew gum at the same time, or is there some secret quota for GLBT-friendly legislation in a parliamentary term?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    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.

    Move to the other side of the world, and be too poor to go back very often.

    (But, yeah, I hear you. We've worked out there's no point going home until we have the time for a three week trip or so, because by the time we've done both islands...we'll need another holiday when we get back. And now I think about it, your remark resembles my childhood.)

    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.

    I rather think there's an excellent argument that once it becomes obvious the reality of marriage equality (which would of necessity include some adoption reform) is a beneficial-to-neutral change, things like transgender equality will become that much easier to push. And, as Craig says, it shouldn't be about picking and choosing. Human rights aren't a buffet.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm in agreement with Lucy, and Craig. Adoption law reform and transgender legal equality are somewhat different issues to the redefinition of marriage under the law to include same sex couples. As Lucy says, once the inequities in the Marriage Act are dealt to, surely adoption reform follows on. And also? I love love. And if someone wants to express that love in a way which is binding and traditional and somewhat oldfashioned, then of course they should be able to. There are enough barriers to love in this world, I would have thought.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Well, you know that I'm far from libertarian on most things, but the field of intimate personal relationships is different. There are certain aspects of "marriage" as it's currently defined all through the law that certainly should be subject to legal rights and responsibilities, but those rights and responsibilities are tangled up with a whole lot of cultural, religious and "romantic" connotations that really shouldn't be subject to legislation.

    I know that I'm on shaky, privilege-denying ground here, since even though I was once married I never sought any of those things where the law gives extra rights to married people: children, shared property, immigration opportunities. Some of those things can presumably already be achieved through other civil means, though presumably with more hassle and expense, but others are probably more difficult or impossible. Is it possible to bring your lifelong platonic BFF into the country under the immigration laws, as (in some cases) people can get citizenship rights for their spouse? Why privilege one relationship over the other because (by connotation of the word "marriage") it is sexual? There are many valid and diverse human bonds that are excluded by the word "marriage".

    Of course, utterly, the most glaring of those exclusions is same-sex couples. Despite my somewhat flippant opening statement, it is obscene to deny people any rights on the basis of their sexuality, and I will also be lining up to vote, march and otherwise campaign to have such injustices wiped out. But perhaps we could also talk about what it is about "marriage" that is so special under law that it automatically confers those extra rights. Or at the very least, while we're at it, let's remove anachronistic and vile phrases like "born out of true wedlock" from the Marriage Act.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    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.

    You also don't have regular baby-sitters. Much of my first 10 years of parenting I was known as the person who never went out on Saturday night.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Tansy,

    Hi Emma and everyone else!
    First, it is definitely time for marriage equality and these poll results afre incredibly heartening. I had suspected that NZers were fairly apathetic about same sex marriage but it looks like this isn't the case after all.
    I'm de-lurking after following this blog for a few years because some of my friends are trying to start up a campaign for marriage and adoption equality and I'd like to give them a bit of free publicity, given that people here are talking about a campaign being possibly a good idea.
    Their Facebook page is here and there should be a website going online soon. I know it's pretty small at this stage but hopefully it's going to expand.
    I hope this post doesn't seem too much like spam or advertising. *is nervous*

    Wellington • Since Jul 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Does anybody have a figure for the number of civil unions that have ended in divorce, I seem to remember that it is quite high
    I do know that there were 273 civil unions (73% same sex) last year compared with 2100 marriages
    Personally I don't see why there is such a drive for marriage but can't see why anybody who want to marry (in the eyes of the law) can't go ahead and do it

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Does anybody have a figure for the number of civil unions that have ended in divorce, I seem to remember that it is quite high

    According to the December 2010 marriage stats, there had been 2214 civil unions in NZ since 2005, of which only 51 had ended in divorce. But given that the median age of marriage at divorce is 13.7 years, I think we've got a while to wait yet before we have decent stats to judge.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Personally I don't see why there is such a drive for marriage

    At least for my partner and I, the two driving factors for getting married were easier recognition overseas, and for the parents. Neither of us are at all religious, but the parents are, and both sides saw 'marriage' as more important than simple legal recognition. They also wanted to see a kid or two married off and I think we let our siblings off the hook.

    Without either of those two reasons, I'd personally have been happy to just live together as a de facto couple or at most join the Civil Union crowd.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to izogi,

    Without either of those two reasons, I’d personally have been happy to just live together as a de facto couple or at most join the Civil Union crowd.

    Personally, I'd have gone for a civil union, but the overseas recognition was the kicker: I wanted to come to the US for my PhD and I wanted my partner with me. Marriage was the only option. Of course, New Zealand recognising same-sex marriage wouldn't extend that to overseas governments, but it's a start.

    And it really does carry a social cachet that no other form of long-term partnership does. Often it's a social cachet I'm not sure I want to have, but it exists, no question.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Personally I don’t see why there is such a drive for marriage

    Jackie might want to put her hands over her ears :), but every time I hear that from (presumably) straight folks I think there’s a wee bit of heterosexist privilege-denying up in the room. I’ll just post a mash-up of two rants on Emma's original threads, because I haven’t changed my mind any.

    I know awful fags like me and Andrew Sullivan only want civil marriage (please note the emphasis) so we can be fabulous Trojan horses destroying the institution of marriage from inside the walls, but I actually deeply, profoundly respect marriage.

    I look at people like my maternal grandparents (who were married for fifty eight years), and see that they stood up before their family and friends and their God and made a profound commitment to each other.

    I don’t think I’m talking out of school in saying my Grandfather could be… well, prickly (folks say I’m more like him that either of us wanted to admit). But (apologies for getting all Athena from BSG here) they made a choice, and stuck it no matter how hard it got. If you can’t do that – won’t even try – how the hell do you end up with anything worth having?

    Now, I mean absolutely no disrespect to folks like Russell and Fiona who (IMNSHO) are raising two absa-fraking-loutely fabulous young men, and are good folks without benefit of clergy. And as I’ve no desire to buy a shotgun and open shop as a gay wedding planner, I totally respect those (gay and straight) for whom “living in sin” or CUP-cakedom is working out fine.. I’ve got my own shit to deal with before I get judgemental on anyone else.

    I think that’s what really scares the shit out of folks – and not only straight evangelical homophobes – who’ve massively invested in the idea of homosexuals as “the other”. Feckless, drug-addled promiscuous freaks who value nothing except the next high, the next orgasm, the instant gratification of every infantile appetite regardless of consequences.

    I don’t want to pretend for a moment that getting married (or civil unionised) makes you any kind of saint. But it also stands as one hell of a rebuke to a lot of anti-gay stereotypes.

    The only argument against I have any time for is “faggots and dykes together, ewwww!” because its at least honest.

    And here’s how I respond to it:

    “Take a look at my parents.

    My father was a forty nine year old Maori Anglican widower who married a white Catholic woman quite literally young enough (27) to be his daughter.

    Now, there are plenty of people who find inter-racial, or inter-faith marriage distasteful – the latter is still quietly discouraged by the Church. Some certainly weren’t shy in expressing their opinion that it was somewhat vulgar of my my father to marry a much younger woman just over a year after the death of his first wife.

    The state, however, had no legitimate interest in any of the above.

    All I ask is to be paid the same courtesy. And if you find the idea of my marrying my male partner so repulsive, you don’t have to look. No harm, no foul.”

    And anyone who wants to throw divorce figures into the mix is going to get this snark:

    [P]eople who are really that concerned about “the fabric of society” and “the sanctity of marriage”, really should turn their attention to the real threat:

    No-fault divorce (and that means the Catholic Church should stop handing out annulments to Kennedys and Nicole Kidman too).

    Just look at the numbers people, and it seems like a no-brainer to me that fewer people would dissolve their marriages if we reverted to a lengthy and very expensive process where you’re required to air all your spunk-stained linen in an open court. With details in the next day’s newspaper for all your friends and family (and your childrens’ school mates) to read, of course.

    Then you can enjoy the sound of silence before the moralistic divorcees and adulterers start contorting themselves into rude and amusing shapes.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It would also be worth pointing out that when my parents got married, the Republic of South Africa still had the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act 55 on the statute books, where it would remain until 1990. It had also been just over five years since the US Supreme Court struck down "anti-miscegenation" laws in sixteen states as unconstitutional.

    Think about that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

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

    Oh, good. I need a new toaster oven.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Just look at the numbers people, and it seems like a no-brainer to me that fewer people would dissolve their marriages if we reverted to a lengthy and very expensive process where you’re required to air all your spunk-stained linen in an open court. With details in the next day’s newspaper for all your friends and family (and your childrens’ school mates) to read, of course.

    I know you're exaggerating here, but it seems to me that lengthy and expensive divorces would be hugely disadvantageous to everyone. Unless there's a clause in marriage which decrees that your spouse will never lie or change their belief system or grow into a different person(ality) or etc etc then all marriages have to have recourse to affordable divorce. Don't get me wrong, I'm married for life... but I thought I was for my first marriage, too. Being miserable for your foreseeable future or sticking it out and being legally bound to another person until you can afford to divorce isn't the same as sticking together through thick and thin (which is what I think you're aiming at in your post). And if we're looking for marriage equality for everyone, then that has to extend to all socio-economic groups for both marriage and divorce. The problem in the "lengthy and expensive process" days was often that the child-carer of the couple was not able to instigate a divorce financially. In fact, there's still an aspect of this in our current, cheaper, divorce systems.

    (Yes, I do recognize that I am privileged with having the option to be married. But I live in Canada where marriage is available to everyone, so I'm not- as -privileged here. And I'm really pushing for the same equality in NZ.)

    That said, you're right on the money here:

    [P]eople who are really that concerned about “the fabric of society” and “the sanctity of marriage”, really should turn their attention to the real threat:

    No-fault divorce (and that means the Catholic Church should stop handing out annulments to Kennedys and Nicole Kidman too).

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Tansy,

    Thanks for sharing that, Tansy. I now have a reply from one Central Christchurch candidate ready to share on the website once it's up. Hopefully, the other candidates will respond too....

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to izogi,

    Personally I don’t see why there is such a drive for marriage

    For one of the (heterosexual) couples I am marrying, they wanted a civil union, but are getting married because they didn't think their family would think a CU was as legitimate.

    Despite the "in all but name" bollocks, there is still a section of society that thinks of CUs as lesser - and also, from some of the conversations I've had recently, exclusively for same-sex couples.

    That's why.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Gee,

    I know you’re exaggerating here

    Gee: I was being extremely sarcastic. Hypocritical marriage equality opponents like Newt Gingrich deserve all the mockery they get – after all, he “respects the institution of marriage” so much, he’s done it three times and his serial adultery (the third time when his now-wife was a Congressional staffer during the Monica Lewinsky scandal) is a matter of public record. But it’s funny how many folks who scream about same-sex marriage being the Fifth Horseperson of The Apocalypse get rather evasive when you suggest that they should be campaigning to criminalize adultery and make divorces much harder to get. Waaaay too close to home for a lot of these people, I guess. Or requires some intellectual rigour and moral courage fuck-tards like Gingrich and Brian The Bish wouldn't recognise unless it was covered in hundred dollar bills.

    Hell, I just want the one civil marriage, and my partner of fifteen years and I don’t have an “open” relationship. So, could folks like Newt STFU now?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Hell, I just want the one civil marriage, and my partner of fifteen years and I don’t have an “open” relationship. So, could folks like Newt STFU now?

    I still get to perform it, right?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Gee, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Hell, I just want the one civil marriage..... So, could folks like Newt STFU now?

    With you all the way on that one.

    Canada, eh • Since May 2011 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tansy,

    I hope this post doesn't seem too much like spam or advertising. *is nervous*

    No way, it's relevant and there's no "no link whoring" policy here anyway. Welcome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    You also don't have regular baby-sitters. Much of my first 10 years of parenting I was known as the person who never went out on Saturday night.

    Heh, I've taken to inviting people over when I'm on babysitting detail. Has big advantages - no driving home at the end.

    But actually my situation isn't as extreme as yours. I've only put the wild and wasteful ocean between myself and the in-laws - my own parents are available for babysitting. Also, my mother-in-law is so congenial that I'm happy to have her staying for extended periods, I stopped referring to her as MILFO after the first visit. It's the FIL whom I'm happy to contain to once-yearly drivebys.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    The only argument against I have any time for is “faggots and dykes together, ewwww!” because its at least honest.

    Exactly. For all their ugliness, we know where blue-collar bigots stand, which makes it easy to poke fun at them. I find the scariest bigots to be the crypto ones who wilfully downplay their bigotry to con the gullible.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I know you’re exaggerating here

    Gee: I was being extremely sarcastic.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, Craig - were you saying that worrying about divorce amongst gays would only make sense if it were also accompanied by a serious attempt to reduce divorce amongst straights. Your suggestion of raising the bar for divorce was to show the hypocrisy of taking concern over other people's chances of divorce (or at least pretending to) whilst at the same time advocating making it piss-easy for heteros? Even worse, actually taking advantage of it being easy by marrying several times, whilst simultaneously pontificating about the dangers of divorce in gay marriage?

    I see the point, but also wish to say that I think raising the cost of divorce is a bad idea (and I think you weren't really advocating that). It's already a hard enough choice for the people who do it, without throwing state sanctioned punishment in there. Of course to anyone considering divorce, I'd advise thinking very carefully about it, but who really needs that advice? It's likely to be the only thing you've been thinking about for years beforehand. Considering how damned easy it is to get married, practically all you have to do is say "I do" and spend a few minutes signing some papers, I don't think the divorce ceremony should be any harder.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

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