Article Title:Marriage, Civil Unions and the battle for equality
Category:Features
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:27th May 2009 - 11:42 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
NDHA link:http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/ArcAggregator/arcView/frameView/IE3535607/http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/32/article_7505.php
Note that the National Library of New Zealand (NDHA) website uses both cookies and frames. The first time you click on a link it first may take you to the archived front page of gaynz.com. Close the window and try again. This is because the NDHA website uses cookies and you cannot access an indiviual page without visiting the front page first
Story ID:7505
Text:Sadly, California's LGBT communities lost their fight against the anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendment known as Proposition 8. So, what can we Kiwis learn from this? In Britain and New Zealand, same-sex marriage proper is nowhere near a contentious issue. It was defused because of the interim and incremental reforms that attended civil unions/partnerships in both nations, which coupled parallel formal relationship recognition ceremonies and orders of service with substantive relationship equality legislative reforms. This incrementalism addressed the need of substantive relationship equality, while clearing the deck and neutralising the impact of the eventual introduction of same-sex marriage proper. Some commentators criticise civil unions for not being formal equality, as same-sex marriage proper would have been. However, one need only look at Australia and the United States for feedback on the folly of non-incrementalist pursuit of same-sex marriage proper without going the route of civil unions first. Granted, the United States is somewhat backward when it comes to endorsement of the spousal rights of heterosexual cohabiting couples, so marriage carries a greater range of associated benefits and responsibilities than it did in New Zealand before the passage of our Civil Union Act and Statutory References (Amendment) Act in 2004-5. As for Australia, PM Kevin Rudd is playing a dangerous game when it comes to refusal to even consider civil unions, which may end up alienating social liberal voters from his party unless he is made to see reason. He needs to reverse the federal anti-same-sex marriage legislation of the Howard era, otherwise he risks losing Australia's LGBT votes to the Australian Greens. Insofar as substantive equality issues go, we in New Zealand have provocation defence abolition and inclusive adoption reform to achieve as remaining issues of lesbian and gay inequality, and the grey area of legal anti-discrimination inclusion of transgender/ whakawahine/fa'afafine citizens: Justice Minister Simon Power and Attorney-General Chris Finlayson need to be asked whether the current government still upholds the Clark administration's Crown Law Office opinion that gender identity discrimination is implicitly covered in existing anti-sexist anti-discrimination laws. I hope that they are. If not, then that must be one of our priorities. Most Australian states and territories now explicitly include their transgender communities within anti-discrimination laws, so why not New Zealand? Same sex marriage proper will happen. However, it may take about a decade. Members of our community are materially suffering from remaining areas of criminal justice and same-sex parenting inequalities, as well as transphobic discrimination. All of them need to take precedence before we can think of reforming rituals, ceremonies and specified orders of service to include us. Craig Young - 27th May 2009    
Disclaimer:This page displays a version of the GayNZ.com article with all formatting and images removed. It was harvested automatically and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly: access this content at your own risk. A copy of the full article is available (off-line) at the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand. This online version is provided for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of PrideNZ.com. If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us
Reproduction note:Just before GayNZ.com closed in May 2017, the website owners wrote this article about reproducing content from the website: "our work has always been available for glbti people to use and all we ask is that you not plagiarise it... if you use it anywhere please attribute it to GayNZ.com and where there is an authors name attached please acknowledge that writer."