Article Title:10 reasons to support the CU and Relationships bills
Category:Features
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:9th July 2004 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:329
Text:1. The CUB and RSRB are about equality under the law And it cuts both ways. Why should bereaved lesbian and gay partners be denied next of kin and inheritance rights? Why should lesbian and gay couples have access to individualised benefits while heterosexual couples don't? Why shouldn't lesbians and gay men be allowed to solemnise their relationships? 2. The CUB and RSRB imposes responsibilities as well as rights Under these laws, we will all be subject to exactly the same responsibilities and obligations as well as rights within current New Zealand statute law. 3. Comparable jurisdictions already have similar legislation Apart from Italy and Austria, most of Western Europe either has or is considering registered partnership legislation of some sort. Canada is a fellow Commonwealth member that is similar to our own in many ways, yet it is ahead of us in terms of its legal recognition of same-sex relationships. 4. This won't affect the core premise of the Marriage Act 1955 Marriage will continue to be restricted to one man and one woman, until Parliament and public opinion decide otherwise. The proposed legislation does not touch that core premise of the Marriage Act. 5. Faith-state separation is a public good Witness the devastation that prevailed in the lands of the former Yugoslavia when Serbian Orthdoxy fueled the fires of anti-Muslim bigotry, or the roles of Catholic and Lutheran antisemitism in fueling the fires of the Nazi Holocaust in the thirties and forties. New Zealand is both a secularised and multicultural society in the early twenty-first century. Why should one faith's opposition to legal recognition of same-sex relationships be translated into public policy? Haven't we learnt anything from the tragedies of the last decade or century? Conservative Christians are entitled to freedom of religious belief, conscience, association and practice where that does not directly infringe the rights of others. Those rights are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights Act and international conventions on religious freedom. Why do they need radical 'religious liberty,' where they do not recognise that some forms of religious practice do constitute direct harm to others, if translated directly into public policy? 6. Secular relationship recognition has existed here since 1847 Since 1847, New Zealanders have had access to civil and secular marriage. This suggests that we should not recognise the principle of a strong civic Christian faith as a guide to public policy on this issue, particularly as it is no longer the case demographically. 7. There is no direct evidence that proposed reforms will cause tangible harms If one makes public policy claims, there is an obligation to provide substantive evidence to verify those claims, or acknowledge that they are scaremongering. Moreover, it is unethical to knowingly use mendacious 'research' in the context of public policy debate when its proponents know that it has not passed judicial or legislative muster in other jurisdictions. 8. Natural law antigay arguments are archaic and fail the logical test of Ockham's Razor Conservative Catholics and their fundamentalist allies have argued that 'natural law' theory is an adequate guide to public policy on this issue. Their interpretation of natural law theory is based on Thomas Aquinas' twelfth-century Scholastic model, which is strongly reliant on unassisted and unsystematic subjective interpretation of the external world. Therefore, because surface physical appearances 'testify' to the existence of two biological sexes, heterosexuality is 'natural' while lesbian/gay sexualities are not. As this argument is based on prescientific and premodern premises, it ignores the wealth of medical and social scientific data about the early hardwired nature of sexualities, whether lesbian, gay or straight. Moreover, thirteenth century logician William of Ockham raised a rebuttal here- one should restrict oneself to the direct hypothesis under examination and not assume that they must conform to prescribed a priori assumptions that cannot be verified from the available evidence. It is Thomist scholasticism that says homosexuality is 'unnatural' not nature. Accordingly, if lesbian and gay identity and desire are natural from these premises, then updated natural law theories might as well apply, which recognise intrinsic rights as natural liberties of every human person. 9. Contrary to assertions, most opposition to civil unions and relationship recognition is based on irrational bias, claims and other questionable inferences It has been almost eighteen years since homosexual law reform and over a decade since passage of inclusive anti-discrimination laws. However, some conservative Christian opponents of the current proposed legislation still rely on the work of Paul Cameron, Judith Reisman, Neil Whitehead and other mendacious commentators. Professional associations, legislative committees and regulatory bodies have subjected the claims of these antigay 'experts' to critical analysis, and they have been found wanting. It is not the case that homosexuality and paedophilia are indistinguisable. Apart from neo-traditionalist Mormons in the United States, there is no Western mass movements for the rights of polyamorous and/or polygamous spouses, nor can this be inferred from medical and social scientific research related to lesbian and gay relationships and/or parenting. It is not the case that past epidemiological research is relevant to the current public debates, given that contemporary evidence shows a wide variety of frequency of sexual partners amongst heterosexuals and gay men alike. Again, it must be asked why the Christian Right is unwilling to recognise the applicability of Ockham's Razor to these irrelevant arguments. The Maxim Institute has fallen into this trap in one recorded public anti-CUB event at Milford Baptist Church, as well as within a recent Care of Children Bill submission. 10. After this, there won't be much left to legislate The lesbian and gay law reform agenda is nearly complete, apart from security and recognition of parenting arrangements and families. It's almost over, and after guardianship and adoption law reform are complete, our communities will settle back and raise our families and live our relationships in civil peace. We hope that our opponents won't keep on endlessly relitigating the past, although the revival of past antigay discredited junk science renders this a forelorn hope, sadly. Craig Young - 9th July 2004    
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