Marriage, Adoption and Human Rights - Marriage Equality Conference

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[00:00:00] This podcast is brought to you by marriage equality campaign Wellington and pride and zip calm. [00:00:07] No mana no [00:00:09] more to attend our current [00:00:13] tour [00:00:18] was quite weird. Being at the forum last night [00:00:21] it [00:00:22] was, who was the last night was most most people were so ahead on on the stage frame wild Kevin a Reagan, Timbaland, and Lewis. And of course, I'm working with us on this campaign that I was involved in conversation more from sort of being laid by frame while I was my particular group was, was the [00:00:53] ABC was easy. In, you know, actually, one of the particular things that that we worked on was a guy called Richard Flynn, who was a pastor in a Reformed Church, we believe that rather than being allowed to have sex, legally, we should instantly put to death. So, so we're sort of that. So that was kind of one of the spears to action. But then what I'm going to talk to you today about actually relates a lot to the work I did with Kathleen, because at that time, I was working for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. And in we we work very closely with Kathleen's office to achieve that change in the human rights to the Human Rights Act. And interestingly, one of the people who worked for me at that time was Tim Bennett, who, who wrote a couple of reports was he just arrived from from Britain, it was kind of saying, What can I do to help and in? We said, Okay, well, there are two groups that were worried about who might get exemptions from Human Rights Act, and they are the police and the armed forces. And so, term, we commissioned to write reports, looking at all the international evidence and precedents so that we could not effective arguments to stop the police and armed forces, getting those exemptions. So hearing about for those who were there last night hearing about the situation in the military, there's also another thread with often [00:02:39] I'm very open to talking about whatever you want to hear about, or talk about. What I have in mind to talk about in this session is a few things. One is [00:02:52] human rights, or the Human Rights Framework, and how that relates from the International sphere down to New Zealand. Second thing is the thing that that might seem like it's not really about human rights, and it's actually public health oriented to demonstrate how these two things are related. And then we'll talk about their relationship to both marriage equality into adoption. So that's my basic plan. [00:03:21] If there are particular things you want me to hit on the way, say, so now or quite any time during the session [00:03:32] is Jim, it's been quite interesting to look at. [00:03:37] Where we are in the, in the stops watch the hierarchy of human rights systems, but, but look at strengthening human rights, and making them much less subservient to, [00:03:52] to and less about discrimination, actually, as well. Start with discrimination isn't your fault, but doesn't seem to be the kind of transcendence if you like, Human Rights Framework and New Zealand, and we don't think of the privacy and that either, either, which I think is a Trump, you know, a very important absence, really, it seems so many other things to depend on privacy, actually, the judgments about our freedoms really, are literally created to do what we want in quite frequently. I mean, if that's not the only garbage [00:04:32] this that's quite I know, down the line. So [00:04:37] just interesting to hear [00:04:40] your opinion on whether [00:04:43] whether the inclusion of human race, gender, HCM to the human rights act as a prevalent grounds of discrimination, that's actually like a really, really useful thing over these con, we're actually downstream that nonetheless. [00:04:58] And also, as you think that marriage standards are refused unary [00:05:04] in [00:05:06] religion is unjustified. [00:05:12] Without giving a legal opinion, [00:05:14] of course, [00:05:15] yeah. Okay, well, that's good. If there are other things that come up as we go along, just say. So [00:05:24] the Human Rights Commission, if they were giving the session probably would start with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Because actually, human rights law in New Zealand comes from there. And that's, that was from 1948, was when the Universal Declaration was was was passed, instead of international law. And that, if you think about that time 1948 is this in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. So this, this idea that every human being [00:06:06] is born with some fundamental and inalienable rights and freedoms, regardless of what country in the world they're born into. Any other aspect of them was was the idea that was kind of a very, very strong expression of of those times. And, in particular, what the drafters were were concerned about was how how those would play out at a very reasonable kind of level. All right, this is a very interesting [00:06:50] dialogue, around around collective rights, individual rights, to what extent is, I presume, have a sovereign under virtual as opposed to being part of a wider, wider collective, but human rights law is very much in that, that mode of have an individual perspective. And Eleanor Roosevelt was [00:07:17] really instrumental character in, in developing a UN Declaration. And one of the things that she said in kind of response to what are these human rights, and was, [00:07:33] I remember, right, where, after all, the universal human rights began, in small places close to home, so small, and so close, that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. [00:07:49] Yet they [00:07:50] are the world of the end of the [00:07:54] neighborhood, he lives in the school or college here, tins, effect fan office, where he works, these are the places where every man, woman, and child, six equal justice, equal dignity, and equal opportunity without discrimination. And that's this constant basis, that's, that's what the Universal Declaration since since 1948, [00:08:23] the [00:08:26] there's there's a lot of buy into the universal crushing by states around the world. And that not necessarily translation and to into their own individual stables. And there came later on, so if you have a [00:08:47] Universal Declaration of Human Rights, [00:08:51] and some 1948 [00:08:57] say, it wasn't until, [00:09:00] against the light 1960s that there was a lot more thought at an international level about translating that into into more precise rights. And in 1976, and it was, we got two different instruments. [00:09:18] One is the [00:09:21] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. And that has within it seems like [00:09:31] the right to vote freedom of association, right to privacy, you know, the these are, these are rights and in this International Covenant, crucially, for us, this contains the anti discrimination. [00:09:50] Right, [00:09:51] so the right to be free from discrimination. [00:09:56] He doesn't mention sexual orientation. [00:09:59] But what it does is it goes a a list of specified grounds, but it says that discrimination you have, everyone has a right to freedom from discrimination, on grounds such is and then there's the last in the courts have have ruled internationally that such as [00:10:23] includes sexual orientation. [00:10:27] The other one is the [00:10:30] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. And so, [00:10:38] so [00:10:42] 1976, I think, by the way, is where eventually ratified [00:10:48] and, and that, that [00:10:51] that covenant includes many of our workplace workplace rights, the right to [00:10:59] say [00:11:02] right to expression of culture, freedom of expression. [00:11:07] Crucially, one of the rights that this thing incorporates as the as some collection of rights around families, including the right to found a family, also the right not to be forced into a particular kind of marriage. [00:11:27] So So [00:11:31] when there is an argument that there is a human right, that exists to marriage, for example, it is through is through a legal argument based on these two covenants. And since since those since those [00:11:47] international covenants were [00:11:50] were ratified, they have been actually a bunch of other documents. So for example, there is [00:11:59] seed or [00:12:03] which has the [00:12:06] Convention on the Elimination of discrimination against women. [00:12:13] And another one is uncork. [00:12:19] Basically, this is how you become a diplomat, you actually, you learn these acronyms. And that gives you access to this world that is otherwise exclusive. And I'm Crocker's the the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. And there's probably about another 1010 of these that are on things like torture, [00:12:44] the UN things, things, it's a bit. [00:12:49] And and so that that's the that's the canon of international human rights law. [00:13:02] Probably the most recent addition to those, at least from you from the zone signing up to as as [00:13:10] the drop, is the UN a question what some indigenous people [00:13:16] and there's lots of others. And in general to, you know, there are there are you in mechanisms. And the problem with these international instruments is the enforcement is kind of weak. [00:13:30] There are mechanisms that are that are based more on [00:13:35] embarrassment. So, individual states have to report to, to various bodies within the UN family, on the implementation of these international instruments. And so, and at the same time, those bodies will also get a report from say, NGOs, sort of community organizations consumed with those issues about about that. So on the coalition on the Rights of the Child, for example, that mechanism whereby community organizations also report to the UN on how well [00:14:21] it's been a very effect of pressure on Africa. [00:14:26] Now, [00:14:31] in New Zealand, [00:14:35] these three things, [00:14:40] as supposed to be reflected and optimistic by the Human Rights Act. [00:14:48] Originally, the Human Rights Commission ate [00:14:52] from the 1970s, but the count became the Human Rights Act of 1993, when those changes that Kevin was talking about last night, Kevin Moore, so the actors is supposed to be explicitly about implementing this law. But, in fact, what it tends to do is to actually be an act about discrimination. Picking up on your point, john, [00:15:19] essentially, what the Human Rights Act does it, it looks in a variety of areas, and says in in this area, they want the discrimination. [00:15:30] And the ones that we know that we're most familiar with probably employment accommodation, and the provision of goods and services there, there are others to education is another. [00:15:43] And what it says is, it will be unlawful to, to discriminate on these grounds listed in the act in that area, apart from the specified situations in southern, so the bulk of the pixelized round exemptions. [00:16:04] So So that's, that's, it's really only the right to freedom from discrimination, that tends to be well recognized. And in human rights. [00:16:16] The addition is [00:16:19] what we call the Bora [00:16:24] which was the chief with Hannah innovation, Bill of Rights. [00:16:29] And the Bill of Rights Act actually does take more of stuff, the specified rights from these different things, and and insists that these will be rights in New Zealand. [00:16:42] The problem with with the Bill of Rights Act as that actually is not it's not superior legislation to anything else. So when you come to a situation where another Act says something different? Well, this specific I rules, the gene. [00:17:02] Where it comes in handy is that [00:17:06] if other legislation is not clear, then courts will use the Bill of Rights Act to determine what the correct interpretation should be. [00:17:17] And the other thing that's useful, or maybe not as useful as we might have expected it would be is that when a new bill is brought to Parliament, it is it has to be kind of oldest against the Bill of Rights and so that there's a kind of a human rights order on a bill, before it goes through power. You would think that if if, if the opinion came back that said, Bill of Rights x is that is that this bill would infringe human rights. And in this way, and this and this way that governments would tend to then change the bill, X ray, it hasn't really worked out that way. So So the way that we can probably I'm going to pick you up on your questions, and the way we can probably get more entrenched [00:18:10] human rights is to actually look at entrenching the Bill of Rights Act to make it superior legislation against each other legislation must comply. [00:18:23] Now, [00:18:27] I mentioned the Sanchez, and what's what's what's happened is in recent, recent decades, [00:18:38] the international courts have HIV in food, and a lot about sexual orientation and gender identity from these various from these various instruments, even though it tends not to the resonance specifically. [00:18:58] And of course, the note the performance originally, they were not written and specifically for the same reasons that our marriage and adoption rates from 1955 don't reflect our community's needs. Originally, that isn't what people were thinking about. We were Khatami off writer. [00:19:19] In more recent years, I went to [00:19:22] 2001, I think [00:19:25] I went to the UN General Assembly with any King for the special session on HIV and AIDS. [00:19:34] And I really struggled to understand the the language of the declarations, because it tends to be so choose. [00:19:48] So for example, this is a declaration HIV, and rather than talking about men who have sex with men, the draft declaration, though, that we had in front of us referred to population groups. Well, population groups was supposed to be code that everyone would understand means men who had sex with men, six with an injection drug users wasn't written down anywhere, by writing population groups, countries like Sudan, for example, would be not would not voting against them. So there's this dance that happens at the international level. [00:20:33] In very recent years, that's, that's improving. [00:20:39] And so we started getting much more specificity. But what's what's been incredibly important is and it's kind of at the interface of this international stuff. And the national stuff is the the York yoga kata principles. [00:21:05] And what that is, is a whole bunch of human rights experts from around the world. [00:21:14] Basically got together to draft some principles that will assist states in translating these international instruments into into the mystic law. [00:21:27] And [00:21:29] they specifically around the issues of sexual orientation, sexual behavior and change. [00:21:37] So when we as activists or legislators, in my case, have to remind myself [00:21:44] one guidance on on how to use this, all of this stuff to actually get changed to mystically, it's right there and yoga katha principles. And Human Rights Commission has a bunch of useful resources for, for translating, for doing that translation around those principles. And those include, for example, the right to marriage equality. So we're we're a state has a statutory provision for marriage, that must be applied, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity. [00:22:25] And [00:22:27] the right to found a family that's, that's in [00:22:34] that one is combined with the with rights and non discrimination that's in that one, to amount to the fact that that our differently shaped family arrangements are all recognized and given equal legal status, or should be in national knows, [00:22:58] including the right to right to adoption. [00:23:04] Now [00:23:07] it's a just a just fall away at this particular place. The thing about gender identity, the hue of human rights. Human Rights Act does not include gender identity. There's some discussion of this last night. It is one of the recommendations in the human rights Commission's to be who I am report. [00:23:32] And I believe that it should be at [00:23:36] the the argument. [00:23:44] The icon relates to the to two basic ideas about the importance of grounds in the human rights. [00:23:53] One of one of the reasons for having grounds in the act is to provide a legal mechanism for protection from discrimination and for redress of discrimination. Okay. [00:24:06] Now, though, the argument for not including gender identity is that the human Human Rights Commission itself had developed the legal reasoning then established actually, to my mind beyond any doubt that the kind of sex and gender provisions that are there, in fact, do provide a legal basis for protection from discrimination. So [00:24:36] a transgender person who experiences discrimination and say, employment, has legal redress, and under the now [00:24:45] however, the other point of having the grounds and the legislation is around signaling or Sydney office, what signal do we send both to those who are marginalized in experienced discrimination, and to the discriminated. [00:25:05] And actually, to have the act silent on gender identity? Guess a message that is permissive of discrimination, I don't think that is acceptable. [00:25:20] And those who've heard me speak about, about marriage equality, will know that, actually, it's the symbiotic thing, as though the signaling effect of the law that I think is the most important thing about about changing the Marriage Act. And for exactly the same reasons, when it comes to that in a second. So the next thing I want to talk about is [00:25:51] public health, [00:25:53] which is I sort of hinted before, probably seems a bit weird. [00:26:00] So I got recruited by the AIDS Foundation, I was recruited to go on to a job I mean, not to not recruited and some other [00:26:12] as a gay man hit some political skills in 1988, to go and work for for the foundation on in the human rights program. The reason for that was us. [00:26:28] Some will remember, and for some, this will be an ancient history lesson. And in the sort of mid 1980s, we had [00:26:41] this devastating epidemic ripping through our community, we had go past the point of not knowing what caused it. So we knew that HIV was a virus, then we it was the cause of AIDS, it was being spread through unprotected sexual contact. So conventional theories about health said, well, [00:27:07] preventing transmission ought to be fairly straightforward thing. Because we know how it spread, we know how you could stop being spread, just use condoms every time. [00:27:20] And so what we need to do is put that information into posters and leaflets, and just have them available, you know, give them to the guys. [00:27:35] Well, [00:27:38] this, this theory didn't work out so well, for a variety of reasons. One of them, you will appreciate is that many men who have sex with men [00:27:52] were not in predictable places, or who were always hiding, if they were in those places. Giving them leaflets kind of really wasn't such an easy thing to do. [00:28:06] But more importantly, there was a piece of research done by some friends of mine. [00:28:14] Horn chick went and killed her for, for the academic takes. And what I did was [00:28:23] interviewed a whole lot of men who had sex with me, and divided them into two groups on the basis of the internet is the group that that always seems to be are managed to have safe sex. And the group that didn't always manage to do side hands, sort of basic research technique. What else is different about these groups, and what's common within those groups? [00:28:51] Well, interestingly, the group that didn't always have six, [00:28:57] often would say, I'm not gay, had a poorly developed sense of gay identity. So they might say, [00:29:05] it was just that one time, or I was really drunk, or, I mean, you're probably familiar with with the rationalizations. [00:29:15] And so poorly developed identity, low self esteem, was another typical characteristic on that group. [00:29:27] Alcohol and drug problems was quite common within that group. poor communication skills, again, common in that group, and there are a variety of other things, but those are the main ones. And these were differentiating characteristics from from the other group. So those who always manage size six felt good about themselves felt good about being guy, typically, we're on top of alcohol and drugs is a good communication skills. [00:29:59] So when, when looking for the research that said, Okay, so what's what's what's behind all of those things. And [00:30:09] with that historical [00:30:10] perspective is kind of obvious. And the, the, these men who were either the victims of discrimination, [00:30:24] or they were hiding their sexual orientation, in order to avoid discrimination, and actually, the, those those attributes in their head, uh, well described in the academic literature as the consequences of either of those, it's kind of ironic from that. So if I decide, I'm not going to come out, because I don't experience discrimination, actually, the psychological consequences for me of making that choice of burying my identity, more or less, the same consequences that I would experience is I came out and then experienced discrimination. [00:31:04] And what that means is that there's a whole bunch of people who are in hiding the cause of this of the sexual identity, and therefore we can relate to their health behavior stuff. But also, even if we can reach them. And actually, the interesting thing is that the two dimensional between these two groups, there is no difference in the level of understanding of what's safe and what isn't safe. And at the same things about HIV. So given them more information doesn't help, because actually, their ability to manage the behavior change is also [00:31:45] damaged by the by by the negative social environment. So in, [00:31:57] in the AIDS Foundation, what we realized that is, if we want to change actual behavior that is transmitting HIV, we have to change this negative social online. [00:32:11] And that's why we were very heavily involved indeed, in driving that Human Rights Campaign. That's that's what I would, from 1998 to 1993, at the AIDS Foundation. [00:32:28] Now weirdly, well, at the same time, in international health circles, so we were developing this theory kind of on the basis of empirical observations and experience. At the same time internationally. [00:32:47] Health experts were kind of observing this interesting thing, not necessarily about HIV, but about [00:32:56] pretty well, any disease you can think of, [00:33:00] you can apply the same thought experiment in this country. So start with any disease, [00:33:09] who has the disease who doesn't have it? Let's map the concentrations of prevalence of this disease through New Zealand. [00:33:19] Once we've done one disease, let's take the next disease will do exactly the same thing. [00:33:26] And then we'll do next disease do the same thing. [00:33:33] And you can probably think about what that maps going to look like. Because it's not a map for his disease evenly spread through the country. With for more or less any disease, you can think of [00:33:49] ill health is clustered in marginalized populations. Bye. [00:33:59] Bye, patients who are marginalized in confined to a particular geographic area, but also [00:34:06] populations that are spread through the whole population. [00:34:11] And we one of us. So we have higher higher rates of quite a number of ill health conditions. [00:34:22] And so the problem for [00:34:25] people whose area of health as well, it's just a gym, [00:34:31] as well, actually, that doesn't explain what you say. [00:34:36] But it's also a problem for the for the people whose model of health as it's just about having the right information and making the right choices. That actually that doesn't explain what you see either. And this pic people from marginalized communities are particularly bad at making choices, or him very poor information about about it [00:35:02] couldn't be that Marty just don't understand that smoking is bad for their health. [00:35:07] Actually, no, that's not what it is. It's about racism. It's about the trading of it. It's about marginalization, that economic deprivation is about those things. So [00:35:19] internet internationally, in the health field, this theory called health promotion was being developed. And [00:35:30] what health promotion says that one should do direction guidelines, [00:35:37] promote healthy public policy, so have have law that facilitates good health outcomes. [00:35:46] Create supportive environments, and obviously, everyone jumps to physical environments. And because actually living next, [00:35:57] toxic waste dump, that's not good, your health is a bad environmental factor. But equally, social environments matter to [00:36:08] strengthen Community Action. [00:36:13] Because communities are the ones who actually do know what will make a difference. [00:36:21] develop his new skills, watch, which, [00:36:26] again, needs to be invaded and make community response in reorient health services. So health services are not so much about [00:36:35] not so much about treating people when they're sick, but actually preventing them becoming sick in the first place. [00:36:42] So those are the five action guidelines from your chapter, which was signed in 1986. [00:36:51] And if you think about those things, and if you think about the things that we realize we needed to do around HIV in New Zealand to actually make a difference. [00:37:02] Well, this is a whole lot of what you need to do is about political engagement and, and political change. The classic auto chatter intervention is [00:37:18] I imagine one marginalized community, who is likely to have lots of different [00:37:25] adverse health outcomes. [00:37:29] But is also interestingly likely to have adverse outcomes in education and social welfare and crime. But they all likely to be clustered in those communities. What the auto chatter says is you can make a difference if you're a government, you can make a difference to all of those outcomes by getting us alongside that community and powering up. So resourcing its own initiatives, and creating around the outside environment in legislation and, and attitudes, that is supportive of the community. [00:38:10] So that's why human rights matters so much to our community. [00:38:17] So [00:38:19] in the debate, so far on marriage equality, [00:38:24] we have, we have had some discussion around youth suicide, [00:38:31] naturally. [00:38:34] Right. So the teams of five or six times the heterosexual peers are at the conservative end of the range of of research projects and [00:38:46] their their studies from the states that have nine or 14 times. [00:38:53] And but data is just one indicator. [00:38:57] That the [00:39:00] what, what this theory, there are just an expanding, expanding to you also says is that by creating a more supportive social environment, by actually hitting New Zealand legislation, that pro that provides full legal equality, actually will not only address youth suicide, also address HIV infection rates, will address mental health conditions will address alcohol and other drug problems [00:39:31] will address educational outcomes in our community, and many others besides So, so this stuff honoring human rights is not just some abstract thing, it has very real impacts, not only on those who want to get married, [00:39:53] but that on everyone else besides. So, [00:39:57] let me just to start writing, imagine, do this stuff. So applying to marriage, so the right to marry have to talk about that. So here, and there are some disputes around [00:40:18] human rights. One is, and I'm drawing this from the, from the submissions, I've already read and heard a very large number of submissions from from both sides, one of the one of the specific points that opponents dispute is whether there is a right to merit [00:40:37] legally, there is clearly Actually no, no dispute around that there is right. And, [00:40:46] and in particular that right to freedom from discrimination, there's a there's a curious line in some of the submissions against marriage equality, that kind of says, well, [00:40:58] actually care if you already came married. And therefore you are not being discriminated against. [00:41:07] But I have chosen through some diversity on my path, to identify as gay, and therefore I am choosing not to be able to have my rights to marry honor. [00:41:23] And therefore I'm not being discriminated against. It's just my poor choices. [00:41:32] There is there are there are two particular points that I think are outstanding issues, that that one's around conflict, conflict of, of rights, because there is a there is a right to freedom of religion. And [00:41:52] that's recognized in the International Covenant on social, economic, and economic, social and cultural rights. [00:42:01] And there's also the right to freedom of expression. So Vince over here to the phones, that also combine interesting ways. [00:42:10] And while everybody's on that I've seen so far with the exception of the Victoria University Students Association, [00:42:21] is arguing that [00:42:25] churches ought not to be required to marry couples against their will. [00:42:34] The that is very clearly a fear of more conservative churches, and many, many, I would say, in excess of 90% of the submissions made against [00:42:47] the bill. So that is, [00:42:48] that will be one of the fix. [00:42:54] There is a there is a related concern that's come through, which is around freedom of expression. there's a there's a provision in the marriage act that [00:43:05] makes it an offense to claim that someone's marriage is not a real one on paraphrasing, but [00:43:17] they so so it is a particular historical [00:43:23] ETFs. [00:43:26] But some churches are concerned about that, they will not be able to say that, that that same sex marriages are wrong if this goes through. So those are the two rights based concerns. [00:43:43] Now that the one about [00:43:47] who can get married, is a really interesting one. Because Whoa, I think, I think it is wrong to try and bind a church [00:43:58] to say you have to meri jaan cave, if they if they come to. [00:44:05] And [00:44:07] it's kind of interesting, I was not because [00:44:12] one of the church still had [00:44:16] a doctrinal belief that said, couples with different races of different races, ought not to be able to marry [00:44:29] all the states law to to allow that. [00:44:35] And actually, I'm going to as some of you will see Andrew Curtis's article that's been published around it. But he's saying, actually, this, this issue does exist already in the law. And in practice, of course, people tend not to go to churches who have adopt trying to build a fit that are opposed to the marriage merit. [00:45:02] But it's an interesting point as to as to where that line should lie between freedom of religion, and religious expression, I guess. And [00:45:13] in the end, freedom from discrimination and marriage. [00:45:19] Definition of religion, that's satisfactory, because if you define original religion at its heart, not discriminating against people, then you could say, well, you haven't really got a real religion. So you can't [00:45:32] that's one from manga. [00:45:38] Yeah, it's interesting, of course, I mean, as Margaret said, in the last session, you know, there, there are many religions, so over the years, who have not lived up to that ideal. [00:45:52] So [00:45:54] you'll have seen that there's that there actually is, this is a debated point. So that [00:46:03] Human Rights Commission, and Andrew Guinness, both argue as is, those of us who are supporters of the bill. [00:46:12] Say that, in fact, the law is clear that that [00:46:17] that churches are not would not be forced to to marry, they would be enabled, but not required. However, I have to tell you that these are Law Society has put in a submission that believes something else to be the case, and that the crown Law Office has also given the select committee and opinion to the opposite effect. And so what we are left with is, those of us who are promoting the bill and saying, you know, it's, we don't want there to be any doubt that our intention is very clear, churches should not be required. If that is indeed apples, [00:47:01] then we probably have to include in the bill, a clause that says, For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in the sec shall require, etc. [00:47:13] So [00:47:17] yeah, yeah. So So then, so the Silicon Valley will say, certainly recommend the inclusion of such a cause. [00:47:29] And [00:47:31] come to adoption, because that's, that's the, that's the other issue is interesting, I'm gonna, and some of you will have heard me talk about that event, some of you probably meet with me. And [00:47:46] in the past years, and a year ago, I was I'm full legal equality is very important. And we will need to make changes in marriage and adoption. [00:48:01] I don't believe there's any prospect of achieving marriage equality under this current government, and therefore I'm putting no energy at all and toward [00:48:11] adoption does have some prospect of success. And I will put some time into that. But my big thing is around supportive social environment for young people. And I'm doing this project with Mary. And that's, that's, that's my priority. So in the intervening year, however, Mr. Obama has is very helpfully made some points and john Kay, who, in so many respects, is very like Barack Obama. And his his echoed those comments and the domestic situation for me to explain my sense of humor. [00:48:48] Yeah. [00:48:51] So So marriage equality is now not only possible, but very, very likely. [00:49:03] But in the meantime, adoptions been bubbling away. And, and the history here is that the 40,005, my colleague materia, today had a bill in the ballot, which did a very simple thing that simply change the definition of spouse and the adoption rate to include [00:49:28] unmarried heterosexual couples, [00:49:33] and same sex couples. Because there the adoption at 1955. So many of you, I'm sure, provides for adoption by married couples, and by single people, and with the kind of [00:49:52] bizarre consequence that single lesbian or gay people can adopt, that Kylie's being couples cannot. And until 2010, unmarried heterosexual couples, as well as same sex couples could not agree. [00:50:14] What [00:50:16] what I did when when I came upon was immediate as was picked up that the old material had head in the bell, and I had it in my name for a while. And then what happened is, [00:50:29] there's NGOs concerned around adoption issues came to me and said, Actually, the issues with the much bigger than that, [00:50:39] and despite hitting the in, [00:50:43] I guess, concerned about is the father of, of a son, who, who is [00:50:55] also the son of a lesbian mother. And, [00:50:59] in a way I have family, if you try and watch it on a [00:51:06] traditional famous trailer with [00:51:11] the wiring diagram is very odd. He's very interesting situations where I, so [00:51:21] here is Phoebe, who was the [00:51:25] daughter of the partner, of the mother of my son. [00:51:31] And so our family looks kind of strange. [00:51:36] I hadn't given a lot of thought to adoption as private, as night. [00:51:42] What, what people say to me is actually, if you're going to try and change the adoption, and change the whole thing, because the whole thing is, is, and adoption, a 1955 essentially works like a property transaction. [00:52:00] It it deals with children as if they were channels of, of their parents. And so the process of adoption is reduced to a process of [00:52:14] the channel of once in appearance being passed to another set of parents. And so just as with ownership right here, and if I [00:52:26] sell a bike to someone else, I don't have some residual relationship with it by consuming gone. That's what adoption does to it completely terminates the relationship between the child and the biological parents. And [00:52:48] what what has happened more recently in in New Zealand is that the norm and adoption has become what we call open adoption, and, you know, adoption, at children, maintain relationships with their biological family and in family, as well as with their new adoptive parenting arrangements and family. [00:53:15] And that is widely recognized to be, in most cases, not all cases in the best interests of HR. [00:53:24] So that's what normally happens now in New Zealand. [00:53:28] However, that happens entirely outside of the framework of the law, because the law doesn't provide for at all, to Laura so obsolete, that that, that the usual current practice by state agencies is not provided for in the law. It's that bad. And so it has been apparent for many years, and then the adoption, it needs to be fundamentally changed. And you probably aware that in 2001, there was a law commission report on the care of children that that recommend that essentially, the repeal of the guardianship Act and the adoption act and their amalgamation into a new modern piece of legislation that would be called character named, [00:54:21] then was [00:54:23] implemented in part by the Labour government in 2004. [00:54:29] And they did the part that was about guardianship. And that they left alone, it was about adoption. And probably, it was to do with nervousness around adoption by same sex couples. This probably is the reason they left it alone. [00:54:51] But the consequence of that is, is that this really archaic and and dysfunctional piece of law has remained plus. [00:55:02] So in the in the care of children act, that is entirely non discriminatory in its provisions around guardianship. [00:55:11] And that we're still left with this Dorito piece of piece of legislation around adoption. [00:55:17] So one of the things that one of the things that I said I, I quickly concluded was when I looked at the history, the reason that hadn't been moved on, actually issued by successive governments didn't want to touch it, because it was a big, big reform, but also because they feared that their opponents across the house would, in some way use it as a weapon against. [00:55:47] And so what I did was convene a cross party group. And I figured out that actually, pretty well, everyone in Parliament recognize that this piece of legislation needed to be overhauled. And it was good support for cross category. So that's what we did in the last parliamentary term. [00:56:06] And the bill that I've currently got in the ballot is a reflection on that work that we did as a cross party group. That K and I continue to work on this panel and return [00:56:22] and it implements the low commissions recommendations around adoption, and also does some other things around non commercial surrogacy. It's called altruistic surrogacy. [00:56:36] And because another law commission report that also was ignored by the government of the day was a report into the peer the legal implications of new forms, apparently. [00:56:51] Because, as you might imagine, the kinds of family structures that I just talked about in terms of my own family [00:57:00] creating all sorts of, of challenges for legal systems, and the law around surrogacy [00:57:10] is kind of really struggling. And so one of the other things that Michael does is to provide a legal framework for adoption by the commissioning parents of the child, that is that is born to win our first surrogacy arrangement. So, [00:57:35] so that's, that's where we are there. Interestingly, I tend to talk about and talk about a right to adoption. And it's possible to argue that there is a right to adopt. And in particular, if you take those as international agreements, and say, the rights to found a family, coupled with rights to freedom from discrimination, [00:58:00] together, cons constitute an adoption, right. But what I frame the issue as instead is to say, [00:58:11] or has to be absolutely prime in decisions about adoption. [00:58:18] Is that is what is in the best interest of this particular child. [00:58:25] And it's their child's right to have the best possible upbringing, the best best possible decisions made for them. And they're all to be at the at the heart of the law. [00:58:41] And where that comes in intercedes with parishes, is that currently, the law does not put all of the options for adoption and parenting arrangements on the table. And what that must mean, in some cases is that the best decision for that child will not be made because the option wasn't available. [00:59:07] So if we want the best interest for children to be consistently made, all of the options are going to be on the table, [00:59:16] including same sex couples. [00:59:22] In terms of a campaign, I think, I think adoption is going to play out very differently from from a marriage equality because of marriage equality. We we are needing to campaign for this, we are campaign from a position of strength. [00:59:40] And our issue is the central issue. [00:59:44] In the case of the overhaul of adoption reform, actually, our shoe kind of gets addressed along the way. But it is not the prime prime issue that is at stake in adoption reform. [00:59:59] What is it? What is it? What is the primer show is overhauling something that's simply an arcade piece of legislation that is not working for anyone? [01:00:11] Now, [01:00:14] that doesn't mean that we won't need to organize around. [01:00:21] There is an interaction between marriage equality and adoption of [01:00:27] so when [01:00:31] when lewis is bill has passed? [01:00:36] And when courts come to interpret what spouse means in the adoption rate, then they will very clearly in my view, interpret that to include married same sex couples, this [01:00:52] quick answer was no. [01:00:55] Start starting it regardless, [01:00:57] regardless of Jane boys or girls. [01:01:02] Yeah. So [01:01:07] here's the [01:01:11] thing. In in Yeah, it's a wrinkle that does more slightly more complicated than what the law says. But the law says again, [01:01:22] and [01:01:25] they [01:01:28] so so the narrative says couples will be able to adopt [01:01:35] what they will leave is some categories of same sex couples. So same sex couples go into civil union and choose not to marry same sex couples who I had to affect our relationship, we choose not to formalize their relationship, either civil union or match. What will the law say about them? [01:01:57] Is that necessarily because the net result court full court judgment that found that same sort of opposite sex better couples with everything that follows their spouse would look as part of the kids and 10 minutes in spouse to include marrying things? [01:02:16] Like that way, why wouldn't they make the leap to? [01:02:20] I believe that they will. [01:02:22] So if there was no reform of the adoption act at all, I think there will be a two stage process, first stage will fall in the immediately and will allow married same sex couples to adopt. [01:02:38] down through the road, [01:02:42] courts will interpret the act using an exactly parallel argument, the one that Claudia used to win the de facto, it was sexual couples case to extend adoption to same six defect or couples. [01:03:04] So so I think that that those issues would be would be addressed in in that way regardless. [01:03:14] into and to some extent, there's kind of useful, you know, there, there is some argument in some of the submissions that there should be an explicit provision in lewis's bill to to actually make it kind of statutory law to extend to those categories. Regardless, right now. [01:03:35] It's up to those. So whether she wants to put that put that in? Oh, no. But [01:03:43] the essential problem from the point of view of adoption Africa, is that [01:03:52] kind of piecemeal [01:03:55] amendment of the existing adoption act, Mrs. The central point of view, the adoption rate, which is it's entirely Norfolk [01:04:07] on the [01:04:10] net, just addresses that. [01:04:15] It doesn't will just send this bill does [01:04:22] I want to send this bill does is does it says [01:04:28] that if it's passed, the Minister of Justice must instruct the law commission [01:04:37] to review and update its previous report on adoption and to draft a bill that would implement its recommendations [01:04:54] in and off and thing requires the minister to the table to build in Parliament [01:05:04] it's not specific to to the same sex couples issue at all [01:05:09] and many audience members probably aware that there's been some tension between the center and I about this [01:05:18] partly because labor with drew from the cross Patty group in order to to promote the idea of of dissenters bill but more importantly because [01:05:30] the the end product of Justin this bill would be with the bill a bill very similar to the one that we already have that's in the belt now. [01:05:45] And and also wouldn't deal with the surrogacy issues and actually would be no more [01:05:52] likely to go through Parliament dead time. So I think it's a it was an interesting idea, but unnecessary. So, [01:06:00] yeah, and Lucinda has done with her though, because [01:06:06] because she was anxious, I think that it may confuse matters with Melissa's is is to defer consideration of the bill. So, just soon as Bill is currently not before parliament, [01:06:22] if when Lewis has bill is either passed or defeated, just send this bill could you then come back on to the order Piper [01:06:36] about done my rent? And so, you know, questions or discussion, [01:06:43] can you [01:06:48] just [01:06:50] Okay, so, so, if I if a couple regardless of whether they are same sex couple or different sex couple [01:07:01] cannot I think probably in every case, have have children themselves biologically. They can, no they cannot legally enter into a commercial arrangement with a woman to be the surrogate mother of a child for them. But they can enter underneath on the way into an hour trusted surrogacy with was fed woman where whereby there was [01:07:36] she she agrees to bear a child, and for them for that cup. [01:07:43] Currently, under Nissan law, the appearance of their child will be [01:07:51] nothing. So and actually, it's unclear in New Zealand more who the parents will be. So courts have really struggled with figuring out who has parenting rights and responsibilities and service arrangements. So what my bill does in respect to services is is to say, he introduces some some provisions to it to assess same here are some here are some costs that can be they can be made without the relationship becoming a commercial services. Here are some steps that can be taken by all parties involved in this to facilitate the legal parenting after the child is born. And then here is the law that will apply. So [01:08:44] the air conditioning couple will become the parents. And there's various loophole clauses to provide for exemptions for changes of mind and that kind of thing. But the law provides, provides a basis for that coupled to become illegal. So the child [01:09:07] very complicated area, just so sticking another hat on as a biologist Now, what's the situation with regard to the implementation of a fertilized donor? egg? [01:09:21] parents. [01:09:27] So down the track from it? [01:09:31] Again, it's it's, it's not entirely clear and unusual. But the starting point would be the biological parents. So the man Spirit has come from and in the womb that he is confirmed. [01:09:45] So they would be biological parents as far as the Lord is concerned? [01:09:50] Probably. [01:09:54] That's exactly why the little commission Dennis report on the legal implications of new forms, apparently, because it's not clear. [01:10:02] That makes it the question of whether the egg is sort of a person, isn't it? Really, it can be pirated in the, in the sense that we have, generally, which is that out pops the baby, and that is Asperger's. And I guess it's it's as as a piece of tissue. [01:10:22] It probably isn't Welcome, welcome. Let's go for it and go for it. Of course, the state but then like, as a piece of tissue, then a little more than the ankle egg on its own or spam on its own, which gets flushed down the toilet? quite quite a lot. Some people might find that challenging, but but it will be difficult to sort of say that there are parents to an aggregate, which is a van fertilized or a sperm, that's all fertilized either. So there was a certain require. [01:10:57] It is complicated. And my bill, I need just one tiny little bit of that broad spectrum of issues, there absolutely needs to be a legislative response to, to deal with lots of other issues there. And, [01:11:15] again, I think it's very sad that actually, the Labour government 2006 did not actually pick up on it. Yeah. [01:11:29] I think we should be very grateful to you, Kim. For the the very very elusive rundown, you've given starting from the analysis of human rights instrument says the person who's been the UN associations, human rights precedential recently for four years, I think there are alarmingly few of our hundred and 21 grams of pound alarmingly few who've got anything remotely like your grasp of human rights, international human rights, [01:11:54] human rights, [01:11:56] conventions, and weekly indebted to you for the very little talk that you've given. And I think we can be optimistic but out of your reference in just under Louise's and other MPs events, we're going to get some pretty substantial progress in the very near future. Thank you appreciate. [01:12:19] justify your approach to him is paying back because of the pressures of being a position as far as resources, not only changing the current draft or dealt with this is one draft level commission. I just wondered what the [01:12:38] she's wrong. [01:12:41] So so the the goal that we have drafted, has involved, you know, a very, very substantial amount of work. And not only from us, but from [01:12:58] a team [01:13:01] legal academics with a specialist interest in the area. So So we know that the bill that we have drafted is robust, his involved [01:13:15] very considerable amount of input from from people whose speech was period as so it would be inconceivable, in fact, to me that the law commission could produce a bit, though. And clearly the point, the point that she makes that it wouldn't be possible to do is wrong, because we've done [01:13:40] okay, yeah, I [01:13:41] think, um, [01:13:45] I really liked your child centric approach to adoption. And [01:13:52] I was wondering then safe to say that yet in the sex marriage equality. And so if we have an option on the table, all people's expressions, then it comes down to who the best parents for the child, which I agree with, but then, like, this is my dad's big philosophy, should we have a test for parenting? [01:14:19] Should we have a peaceful parenting? Well, [01:14:23] let me tell you how old I put an optional waited. [01:14:27] So [01:14:30] the [01:14:32] spiritual social workers from any stage st account, to lost track of those acronyms, I just changed so fast. And I think it's in his day. And he works with people who expressed an interest in adopting children to develop what they call profiles, and that's [01:14:59] what's called exhaustive prices, lots of information about them, and also working with them to go through the realities of, of parenting a child [01:15:13] to to determine their suitability. So they have a kind of a threshold test now, as to whether these people would be suitable parents. And then they, they essentially put those [01:15:28] Halo sort of bank of those profiles into the tools and end of couples. [01:15:35] And so when [01:15:38] biological parents wish to make their child have their child adopted, [01:15:46] and [01:15:48] they get to choose, and they can see as many or as few of those profiles as they want, low, so they could say just pick one at random. That's what I chose to do. And [01:16:05] what I can say, I want to see absolutely all of them, or I want to see 10, like this. And, [01:16:15] and what Michael proposes is, is that you still have an event next, but actually the court will then also ensure that the arrangement because the biological family in the adoptive family must also have a parenting arrangement, which is working down which as [01:16:37] this is how we are going to ensure that this child has connections across as those across the center face. And then the court in must, must put a seal on the basis that it's the best for a child. So it's no quite that you know, you've passed the test your own. It's kind of similar. My next [01:17:03] question is, this morning about celebrants [01:17:07] the [01:17:08] rights to religious freedom, you know, these two people who are celebrates civil celebrants that might have a religious belief that [01:17:19] make them [01:17:22] yeah, then there's a, there's a really interesting debate going on. So if we ended around the extent of the amendment that the select committee put puts up, I'm sure that extends to celebrants more generally, or just those who are acting on behalf of the church. [01:17:43] And [01:17:45] the argument, the argument for extending it to is to celebrants more and more generally, is [01:17:54] it would be a way of reflecting what's the law currently as [01:17:59] partly smoke law is commonly understood today. That actually, the law provides criminal provides for and powers but does not require both to churches and in other celebrants so the argument for extending in the amendment to be clear that celebrants also are not required, this comes from from preserving the status quo. [01:18:29] The argument against is a kind of principles post argument, this is [01:18:35] marriage tolerance, actually, regardless of whether their religious belief on one [01:18:41] hand, effectively one up the channel, and entering into essentially, a provision of goods and services contract. [01:18:52] The provision of service, literally, I guess, [01:18:55] and therefore, was to be subject to all of them discrimination provisions that apply to offer services. [01:19:06] I don't know what the answer to that is. [01:19:10] It's an interesting debate. [01:19:13] So [01:19:14] this is my [01:19:21] understand that legislation forward? [01:19:27] I'll be in the position of having to [01:19:36] know, well, well. [01:19:41] Good marriages. [01:19:42] Nice. Well, yes, or their marriage will be recognized. But the thing is, if they want a New Zealand marriage, then probably yes, you would have to. [01:19:58] Yeah. So [01:20:01] respect for [01:20:04] the law law will provide for the recognition of marriages that have occurred elsewhere that didn't meet our requirements. So that would include your marriage, your marriage. [01:20:18] I'm 90% Sure. [01:20:32] Interestingly, in relation to surrogacy, for example, there are some interesting problems in law at the moment. So [01:20:40] was done recently with a, a heaven to be a same sex couple from New Zealand, who were living in another country entered into a, an altruistic service arrangement overseas. In in that other country, they are recognized is the legal parents of child, child. They have since come back to New Zealand with a child. We're a and then under New Zealand law, the biological mother of child in the sauce country is recognized as the child and as the parent and they are not. [01:21:25] And since [01:21:27] given that they are not legally in the parents in New Zealand, the child status in relation to immigration status is also subject to legal and CFPB. So I'm in my book deals with it. problems. [01:21:47] been fabulous. I'm done. Thank you.

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