Title: Gays are out to convert straights says MP Credit: Hansard Features Thursday 1st July 2004 - 12:00pm1088640000 Article: 319 Rights
"(Gays) seek converts. It is the hard sell of the homosexual lifestyle. I will not buy it," National's Rakaia MP tells the House. Here's his Relationships Bill speech, as recorded in Hansard. BRIAN CONNELL: Of all the moral issues that this Parliament will involve itself in, I do not think that many will generate more controversy and bitterness than those concerned with homosexual marriage, or, as the Government would have us believe, with the Civil Union Bill. I understand that this is a debate on the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, but I cannot talk about that bill without at least referring to the Civil Union Bill, because one is dependent on the other. I accept that the discussion around de facto relationships will generate less controversy, but I put it to the House that this debate will continue to rage, because any attack on the institution of marriage—a marriage between a man and a woman, and, by definition, children—will, for those who believe that minority groups are trying to re-engineer society in their own image, simply not be tolerated. I am surprised—nay, concerned—that until recently the churches have been spectacularly silent on this issue. I would not have thought they would be silent, because the institution of marriage is core to their business. Notwithstanding that observation, Cardinal Williams has now had the courage to speak out. What he has received for having had the courage to put a carefully considered position is criticism from the Prime Minister, who said that his contribution was sad. This came from the Prime Minister who called for tolerance in the debate. I will not use the word “hypocritical”, because I know it is not parliamentary, but I would ask listeners to consider the veracity of the Prime Minister's position. After voicing strong views on the Civil Union Bill, I have been vilified by some sectors of society as being homophobic. I say to those people that that is simply not the case at all. I have no antipathy whatsoever towards homosexuals, of either sex. Throughout a long business career I have known a good number of homosexuals, and a good number I call friends. In the main, I find these people to be deeply sensitive. So, I pose the question: why am I opposed to this bill? It is simply an old-fashioned concept I hold: I believe it is morally wrong. There is nothing new about erotic attractions between members of the same sex. It has been happening for centuries. Although it may be tolerated, maybe even accepted by some, there has never been any suggestion over the centuries that it would be given the same parity as marriage within the State. That is why I believe that this bill and the Civil Union Bill have to be strongly opposed. I believe that the talk about de facto relationships is simply a smokescreen. The gay movement is seeking acceptance that its lifestyle is a satisfactory alternative to traditional heterosexual marriage. It is, in my view, the subject of a highly organised campaign, with its protagonists deeply embedded in the Labour Party caucus. They do not seek understanding or fairness; they seek converts. It is the hard sell of the homosexual lifestyle. I will not buy it, and I do not believe that mainstream New Zealand will buy it, either. We were asked for tolerance regarding the Prostitution Reform Bill. Those of us who had the courage to rise and argue that it was evil legislation were told that we were intolerant, and that if we legalised prostitution, prostitution would be taken off the streets. One has only to go down the main streets of any city in this country to see prostitutes as young as 11 and 12 years of age plying their trade, and that is a disgrace. I take no comfort whatsoever from those who say to us that we need to be more tolerant in our views on this issue. Let me turn specifically to some of the issues that have been raised in this bill. I have heard all sorts of self-indulgent drivel about marriage and its religious associations. I know of many—and there are probably many thousands of such Kiwis—who have been married in non-religious ceremonies, and I have never heard any of them raise any concerns about their human rights having been breached. Another excuse that is often put forward by the gay movement is that their people's rights are being impinged on in respect of property. I say to the House that in this country people can name their dog as the main beneficiary in their will. My advice to these parties is that they should go to their lawyer and sort it out, just like the rest of us have to do. They should not ask the country to legislate to use—as Mr Baldock said—a sledgehammer to smash a legal nut. It is simply not necessary. Different-sex individuals living together have the same property rights under existing law. I accept that there are some situations where they will not have all their rights recognised, but I say to them, and particularly to those in de facto relationships, that if they want what marriage can offer, they should simply make the commitment and get married. That, in my view, is what marriage is all about—love and commitment. I will not tolerate those who want to argue that putting in place all sorts of alternatives to marriage is not an attack on the institution of marriage itself. It is, and, as I said, I will not stand for it. The reason I am strongly opposed to what has been suggested under this legislation is that it is just a continuation of the slippery slope of casualising relationships. That trend has been in vogue in New Zealand for nigh-on 30 years, and the consequences for some of our kids in this country have been disastrous. We see the damage everywhere we look. Every day we see dysfunctional families, high crime rates, welfare dependency, women with four, five, or six kids, fathers who do not know how many kids they have, and all sorts of terrible abuse. I will not say that marriage is a perfect solution. I am not arguing that at all. I am saying it is a standard-bearer that says that at least this is a stake in the ground—that these are the minimum standards that society stands for and stands up for. Anything that erodes those standards just does not make sense. Why would we want to legislate to accelerate the trend of a breakdown in relationships? I do not believe, when we think this through, that this is really what society wants. Certainly, where there are some anomalies that cannot be sorted out through attorney or client relationships, then maybe we should look at changing those things, but we should not change the standards that underpin a civilised society. I call on members of the House to reflect on some of these views and comments, and to have the courage to stand up and articulate those views. I am not suggesting that people who oppose this legislation do not have the high moral ground; they do. But I want them to have the courage of their convictions to stand up and make a stand. If anyone feels very strongly that those who argue against this legislation are right, then they should stand up as well, because we cannot do it by ourselves. Hansard - 1st July 2004    
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