Title: DOMBlivion Credit: Craig Young Comment Friday 16th December 2005 - 12:00pm1134687600 Article: 1043 Rights
As it all turned out, December 7 wasn't a day that will live in infamy for the New Zealand LGBT communities after all. For on that day, UFNZ's Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill was heavily defeated. For those who haven't heard, the margin was resounding- 73-47 (one Maori Party MP didn't vote). It's the same old story, only one that usually gets told in the context of the abortion debate. The Christian Right establishes a toehold, then gets complacent, giving their opponents time to dissect what's on offer, and prepare a counter-offensive. Most of the Labour Party stayed true, with a single exception. The Greens, Maori Party and Jim Anderton all voted against the measure, as one would expect from the centre-left. Twelve National MPs joined it as well as two New Zealand First MPs, while thirty six National MPs, five New Zealand First MPs, ACT (2) and United Future (3) voted for it, not enough to get it past its first reading. Alas, the Christian Right did virtually nothing to insure its passage, past articles in Challenge Weekly, Dave Crampton's supportive blog, Gordon Copeland's letter to all MPs on the subject, and the intrusion of the Exclusive Brethren, once again, too late to affect the result. There were some surprises- Brian Connell voted on the side of the angels, even if spiting Don Brash had a lot to do with it. The erstwhile Leader of the Opposition pandered to the hard right of his party once again, while ACT betrayed their liberal principles and voted for it. I should imagine some of ACT's centre-right social liberal youth contingent will be having a strong word to Rodney and Heather about that. So, what happens now? The Maxim Institute is in eclipse, damaged by Logangate, Destiny Church stayed out of the running this time. Despite the histrionics last year about the 'evils' of same-sex marriage, the Christian Right couldn't summon up the vitriol to run an effective campaign for its prohibition. As well as that, the bill included clauses that would have condoned marital and family status discrimination, salvaged from Stephen Franks ill-fated SOP 336 at the time of the third reading of the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill earlier this year. New Zealand won't go the way of Australia and the United States now, but will end up amending the Marriage Act 1955 at some point in the intermediate future, like Canada and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, we have more immediate issues like new protease inhibitoraccess to lobby for, as well as preparing forinclusive adoption reform and transgender anti-discrimination legislation. DOMB is gone. Long live LGBT rights! Craig Young - 16th December 2005    
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