By Kevin Hague
It’s about time that all adult New Zealanders should be allowed to marry the person they love.
The option of civil unions is available but people who are gay, lesbian or have different gender identities are not allowed to get married.
If it’s ok for people to be joined in a civil union why not let them get married?
The arguments against it slip into apartheid-style rhetoric. Everyone can get on the bus, but some people have to sit at the back?
Do New Zealanders really think that people who aren’t straight are somehow less human? I don’t think so and that’s backed up by polling on this issue. More than twice as many New Zealanders support marriage equality than oppose it.
Some people argue that marriage needs to be ‘protected’. Against what? Most institutions are made stronger by having more members. It shows marriage is important and valued. Allowing more people to marry will in no way impact on other peoples’ vows. It just gives more loving couples the chance to celebrate their union the same way that other New Zealanders can.
The reality is the law change won’t impact on all the different kinds of families out there in the community. Strident opposition by a vocal minority is not going to change how people live their lives.
However, Louisa Wall’s Marriage (Definition of a Marriage) Amendment Bill, will be good for those families. A change in attitudes and society spelling out in black and white that people who happen to not to be straight are just as valued as others is important. Young gay and lesbian people, especially, should not be taught by society that they are somehow not as good as others.
Marriage equality is another small step to making sure all people are treated the same by the law.
Anything we can do as a society to make everyone feel they are valued and have something to offer must be done.
The world hasn’t ended in the other countries where it was introduced: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden.
The bill is likely to pass its first reading, with Prime Minister John Key, and now a sizeable number of his MPs, committing to support it.
The Green Party is proud that all 14 of our MPs are backing it, not only as a matter of conscience, but also because of our Part policy of full legal equality.
Kevin Hague is a Green Party List MP