Article Title:All Quiet on the Fundie Front?
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:5th July 2003 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:82
Text:After the Prostitution Law Reform Act's passage, there has been an unnatural hush from the Christian Right. While one might think that the Maxim Institute would be venting its spleen over the iniquitous Care of Children Bill and guardianship and custody provisions for lesbian, gay and transgender parents, they aren't. Apart from one Christchurch Press article by Bruce Logan, and outraged letters to the NZ Herald editor, silence reigns. It should be noted that Lianne Dalziel responded, as did Metiria Turei for the Greens, who said they'd vote for the legislation in question. Meanwhile, from Cambridge University, Deborah Coddington apparently forgot that she had lesbian parents in her extended family, as she echoed Bill English in his attack on queer-inclusive provisions in the Care of Children Bill. United Future opposes the Care of Children Bill, but doesn't want to raise attention that would fuel fears about its fundamentalist contingent, given the damage that prostitution law reform may have done to its profile and polling. What's going on here? Surely the Maxim Institute should be flush with cash given the narrow margin of defeat over the Prostitution Law Reform Act. But such is not the case. At present, there appears to be no detailed analysis of the Care of Children Bill akin to its efforts against the PLRA. This is odd, considering that Maxim keeps fulminating about the virtues of white, affluent single-income two parent heterosexual nuclear families, but it is not campaigning against this current manifestation. It is true that its website has a Letter Wizard directory of New Zealand newspaper letters column email contacts, but without leadership, all the Christian Right can do is rant, as it did at the first reading of the Care of Children Bill. Could it be that the Christian Right is aware that we are monitoring their North American and European counterparts campaigns against relationship and parenting equality and are mobilised for rapid rebuttal? Could it be that the cash supply was tagged specifically for campaigning against prostitution law reform? Could it be that the Christian Right prefers safer targets like sex work or Peter Browns' forthcoming Death With Dignity Bill, which seeks to decriminalise voluntary euthanasia? Meanwhile, New Zealand's third fundamentalist political party condemned the passage of the Prostitution Law Reform Act last week, despite the fact that Destiny New Zealand hadn't spoken out while the legislation was still being debated (Challenge Weekly, 30.06.03). At the same time, NZPA reported that DNZ had been launched to the sound of singing Pentecostals, with predictable targets. Oddly enough, lesbians and gay men were absent from the line of fire, as Richard Lewis fulminated about the alleged evils of reefer madness, the Prostitution Law Reform Act as legitimisation of adolescent sex work, and the legal dismantling of the family. Lewis thinks that DNZ will obtain ten percent of the vote and win fourteen seats in Parliament. NZPA noted that United Future had needed Peter Dunne's mainstream public image and constituency seat to do so last year, and recorded the CHP's sorry state. Meanwhile, the CHP was silent over the passage of the Prostitution Law Reform Act, in preparation for next month's Nelson-based conference and Graham Capill's dethroning. As for DNZ, it quickly signed up its requisite 500 members and has registered with the Electoral Commission as a political party. It has yet to register on opinion polls. Why have things gone strangely quiet? Given the strength of government parliamentary leadership and a reasonably robust economy, the Christian Right may have quietly conceded that lesbian and gay relationship and parenting equality are inevitabilities if they occur during this parliamentary term. Craig Young - 5th July 2003    
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