|Courtesy of Sweden's impending same-sex marriage legislation, the local same-sex marriage debate has sputtered back into life. Or has it?
On Newstalk ZB, George Ireland (Milne Ireland and Walker, Auckland) and Richard Lewis (Destiny New Zealand) agreed with one another that a Labour-led government would be likely to pass this legislation here too, at some point in the intermediate future. Not surprisingly, they differed over its desirability.
What about our own communities, however? Well, our civil union experience seems to indicate that we are converts to the old adage, marry at haste, repent at leisure. LGBT civil unions have been somewhat slower in pace than the civil partnership surge in the United Kingdom, although as we've had fewer dissolutions of those civil unions than our counterparts, there seems to be no harm in deliberation before tying the knot either.
And same-sex marriage? The issue seems to be largely dormant within our communities, which appear satisfied enough with civil unions and relationship recognition as markers of substantive equality, which brings real equal rights and responsibilities under spousal law. Apart from Nigel Christie and Marilyn Waring, there is virtually no sign of the earlier lesbian-led same sex marriage activism that existed during the nineties, before Quilter v Attorney-General settled the matter, for the time being.
I imagine that this will soon revive if any such legislation does appear possible, which it doesn't at the moment. I suspect that Future New Zealand and Taito Philip Field would relinquish their confidence and supply agreements with the Clark administration over such an issue, so we'll probably have to wait for full formal equality. However, in the interim period, demographic turnover and opinion change will have worked our way. That said, as the last LGBT substantive equality measure, inclusive adoption reform should take precedence. After that, same sex marriage will be...only a formality.
Not Recommended: http://www.destinynz.org.nz Craig Young - 4th July 2007