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"I support same-sex marriage" (But...)

Fri 18 May 2012 In: Comment View at NDHA

John Key at the Big Gay Out Why is John Key so busy "triangulating" when it comes to same-sex marriage? And why? I'm not the only one who seems to have noticed this- so has the New Zealand Herald. Other New Zealand media outlets are more charitable toward the Prime Minister, using the term "evolution." That's fine, but closer examination of his perspective(s) on marriage equality suggest a more mundane descriptive term- 'spin.' Unlike David Cameron and (now) Barack Obama, who don't equivocate about their support for marriage equality, Key's 'support' requires a road map to interpret it properly. First, he said he opposed it. Now, he says that he supports it, but that it isn't a 'priority' for his government, due to the relative calm over the issue here. Indeed, only the Conservative Party and Family First have declared open opposition to the proposals, as they might be expected to do. However, now that Labour MP Louisa Wall has said she's working on a marriage equality private members bill, he has hedged on that support, stating that he'd support it in its first reading, but would give no further reassurances. By comparison, Labour leader David Shearer is minimally ambiguous, saying that he supports it, although he'd have to see the details first. To be blunt, Key gives the impression of trying to have his cake and eat it- giving the illusion of 'progress' through symbolic 'liberalism' over this issue, but reasssuring social conservatives with inertia and promises of indefinite delay at the same time. Remember the proposed euthanasia law review during the election? As with same-sex marriage, it has been supported but postponed to the indefinite future. Thank you for your "support". Prime Minister, but we can tell the difference between indefinite, hazy and vague symbolic 'liberalism' and substantive liberalism. Unless someone on the centre-right takes the initiative over marriage equality, inclusive adoption reform and transgender rights, any substantive progress will be delayed until the next centre-left Labour/Green administration. If you support actual marriage equality, prove it. Recommended: Claire Trevett: "Key hedges bets on gay marriage" : New Zealand Herald: 15.05.2012:  

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Friday, 18th May 2012 - 12:19pm

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