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Govt disappointed over "gay slant"

Sat 19 Jun 2004 In: New Zealand Daily News

The Government is disappointed the civil union debate has been given a "gay slant". Associate Justice Minister David Benson-Pope says it is not exclusively a gay issue, and that discrimination against gay couples will continue as same-sex couples will still not have the option of marriage. "I've asked my colleagues (gay MPs Chris Carter and Tim Barnett) to leave it to this office to talk about the bills simply because - while I don't deny them their rights and their depth of feeling - the fact of the matter is, this is predominantly about human rights, not gay rights or heterosexual rights." Benson-Pope says marriage will not be affected by civil union legislation, but in spite of that marriage should not be held up as something that it isn't. "We know that one in three marriages aren't a first time marriage, we know and regret the quite high level of marital breakdown in this country,” he says. "That's unfortunate, but does indicate that marriage is not the long-term stable relationship that it once was, right or wrong."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Saturday, 19th June 2004 - 12:00pm

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