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History Never Repeats

Wed 20 Apr 2016 In: Comment View at Wayback View at NDHA

More than three years after it was passed in New Zealand, why is Family First still droning on about marriage equality, however selectively? How so? Well, they don't seem to want to talk about positive instances of the international story arc, such as the marriage equality victory in Colombia's Constitutional Court recently. On the other hand, if some out of the way former fundamentalist resort near Christchurch (Living Springs) changes its mind about holding same-sex weddings, they cover that story. Added to which, they also discuss the continuing logjam in Australian federal politics, no doubt deriving some vicarious pleasure about the retrograde situation across the Tasman. And for some reason, they still maintain their "Protect Marriage" subsidiary website, even though it's long past its use-by date. Not only did they fail to halt Louisa Wall's original marriage equality amendment bill, but they also failed to make it an election issue in 2014, the Conservative Party didn't enter Parliament as they hoped and has subsequently self-destructed, and New Zealand First is keeping quiet about the issue. Which has tended to reduce them to making cheap pot-shots about polyamory and consensual 'adult' incest. One more time. No advanced jurisdictions which have long had monogamous same-sex marriage equality, be it Scandinavia, Canada or the Netherlands, have introduced polyamorous spousal rights legislation, nor are there any organisations campaigning for such legislation. The only sign of polyamorous rights activism consists of a media monitoring group in Australia, sporadic feminist law papers and numerous consequences about the feminist ethics of polyamory. None of those fragmentary instances suggest any coherent social movement or legislative programme. As for 'consensual' adult incest, it is currently illegal in New Zealand under Section 130 (2) of the Crimes Act 1961. Again, there is no social movement or organisation that is lobbying for 'reform' in this context, nor is there any grounding research, and no such legislation exists within the British Commonwealth. CAI is only legal in the Peoples Republic of China, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Argentina. In the cases of both polygamy and 'consensual adult' incest, there are existing New Zealand logistical, strategic and legislative barriers to their decriminalisation. When it comes to polygamy, bigamy is criminalised under Section 205 of the Crimes Act 1961, and the same premise applies to more than three 'spouses', with criminal penalties from two to fourteen years. Moreover, the same applies within British Commonwealth case law due to the British Columbian Supreme Court reference caseRe: Bountifulin November 2011, which has never been over-ruled within that jurisdiction. South Africa is the sole exception, given that polygamy is legal there under African customary law- in fact, the current ANC President, Jacob Zuma, has an extremely chequered polygamous matrimonial history. When it comes to European Union case law,Stuebing versus Germanyis another relevant case- in which an adult incestuous German couple went to the European Court of Human Rights, but failed to have their relationship declared legal, failing in Germany and then at the European Union level. legislative basis due to existing criminal penalties, no organised lobby groups seeking to advance specific legislative objectives, no draft legislation, and not even law journal musings or anything other than isolated newspaper articles or politicians opinions? There are no 'movements' for decriminalisation of polygamy or 'consensual adult' incest in New Zealand. Euthanasia law reform is somewhat more likely than any decriminalisation of polygamy or CAI, so why does McCoskrie waste time raving aboutfait accomplisand neverworlds? Another recent example of Family First's problem with this occurred when they recently regurgitated yet another rather confused attack on same-sex parenting research from conservative Catholic University of Texas sociologist of religion Mark Regnerus. The fundamentalist USChristian Post(hardly an academic publication!) reported on a recent University of Melbourne study that found that parenting outcomes were no different across the board for lesbian and gay parents, except for the fact that lesbian and gay parents reported more 'parenting stress,' but that this made no difference in the quality of parenting when it came to their children. CP Opinion writer Naz Nappworth then made an inferential jump and distorted this finding to infer that lesbian and gay parents were more readily frustrated with parenting. Mark Regnerus then chimed in, making questionable claims about the efficacy of this study. He argued that it had been 'rushed' to publication, had a small sample range, had too few measures of child wellbeing and was unrepresentative due to the fact that it interviewed parents rather than children in this context. Of course, what Regnerus didn't mention was the repeated criticism about the credibility of his own hatchet job against same-sex parenting, designed to coincide with legislative and judicial marriage equality activism in the United States. Nor did it even work- inclusive adoption reform is now a reality thoughout the United States after Obergefell v Hodges made marriage equality a reality throughout the whole United States, including jurisdictions that had once reserved adoptive parent status for married couples. Mississippi was the last discriminatory jurisdiction to fall. So, in terms of futile activism, Regnerus' own questionable, badly designed and biased work on the subject has had no effect. And lest one forget how biased that was, remember that the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, US National Association of Social Workers, American Academy of Pediatrics, California Association of Social Workers and California Psychological Association all jointly provided an amicus curiae affadavit inKaren Golinski versus US Parent Office of Personnel Management, John Perry and Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the US House of Representatives.In his own study, Regnerus had no specific category for same-sex parenting. He relied on children's designations of their parents sexual identities, did not differentiate whether parents had stable and established lesbian and gay identities or not, or were in episodic one-night stand situations. His study did not deal with stable and established lesbian and gay couples or parenting within that social context, hence the objections from mainstream medical and scientific professional associations in the aforementioned affidavit. The US National Organisation for Marriage, Family Research Council, Witherspoon Institute, Christian Post and Family First here can expend all the hot air that they like- Regnerus' hatchet job was exposed as such, and it's no good promoting his work as if it were anything else but that. Again, though, why is Family First still parroting the rhetoric of subcultural luminaries as if they were reliable sources? Don't they have anything better to do? Apparently not. And why are they doing so three years after the loss of their campaign against marriage equality and inclusive adoption reform? Because, apparently, they really are that cravenly dependent on US Christian Right propaganda, tactics and strategy, even when the legislative and judicial context for which they were originally used has long since been lost to their LGBTI opponents. Recommended: Re:Bountiful(2011): British Columbian Supreme Court: en/bc/bcsc/doc/201 1/2011bcsc1588/2011bcsc1588. html "German incest couple lose case"BBC News: 2012: 12.04.2012: com/news/world-europe-17690997 New Zealand Crimes Act 1961:http://www.legislation. lat est/DLM327382.html Karen Golinski versus US Parent Office of Personnel Management, John Perry and Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the US House of Representatives:http://www. cases/golinski-v-us-office- personnel-management Henry M Bos et al: "Same Sex and Different Sex Parent Households and Child Outcomes: Findings from the National Survey of Child Health"Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics:April 2016: 37:3: 179-187:http://journals.lww. com/jrnldbp/Fulltext/2016/ 04000/Same_Sex_and_Different_ Sex_Parent_Households_and.1. aspx Mark Stern: "The Scientific Debate Over Same-Sex Parenting is Over"Slate: 13.04.2016:http://www.slate. com/blogs/outward/2016/04/13/ scientific_debate_over_same_ sex_parenting_is_over.html Laura Chubb: "Christian Post writer claims study supporting same-sex parenting actually shows lesbian mums more angry at their children" Gaystarnews: 16.04.2016:http://www. christian-post-gay-parenting/# gs.0ikeMug Nathaniel Frank: "Michigan Courtroom deals Fake Antigay Research Strategy A Stinging Blow"Outward:21.03.2014:http://www.slate. com/blogs/outward/2014/03/21/ michigan_same_sex_marriage_ ban_struck_down_along_with_ fake_regnerus_research.html Not Recommended: Protect Marriage:http://www.protectmarriage. "Media Gush Over Research on Same-Sex Parenting. Unfortunately..."Family First:17.04.2016:https://www. media-gush-over-new-study-on- same-sex-parents- unfortunately/ [Bear in mind that McCoskrie has no professional qualifications in pediatrics or developmental psychology himself, so what entitles him to pontificate as if he did in this context?] Craig Young - 20th April 2016    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Wednesday, 20th April 2016 - 10:17am

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