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UF: Further antigay bills not ruled out

Thu 5 May 2005 In: New Zealand Daily News

United Future MP Larry Baldock has not ruled out proposing further anti-gay legislation, following news that his private member's bill to ban gay marriage and amend protections for gays under the Bill of Rights will be debated in Parliament next week. asked Baldock if his "George Bush" style amendment to the Marriage Act was the first stage in a plan to repeal the Civil Union and Human Rights Acts. “There's no intention to address that through this bill,” he said. “This bill's explanation is quite clear.” He says no piece of legislation can stop people choosing to be gay, but it is his intention to stop gays from ever being able to marry. However, New Zealand's current law already prohibits same-sex couples from using the Marriage Act, even downgrading gay marriages performed overseas to civil unions. Baldock reacted curtly to suggestions that only a Christian constituency would want his bill, saying there “are 700,000 married people in New Zealand who are probably pretty keen to see marriage defined clearly.” He says his bill does nothing to strengthen marriage, but it opens the door for further legislation to favour non-gay couples. “The purpose of the bill is to make it clear that that can't be called discrimination on the basis of marriage, because it would be positive discrimination and not negative discrimination.” Married heterosexual couples, he said, were more important to society than other relationships. Suggestions that United Future are a Christian party were a very sore point for Baldock. “We've answered that question on many occasions and it's a pretty dumb question. I know it's one you like to keep asking, but it's just a dumb question,” he snapped. “We're a political party which is seeking to do the best we can with our policies, for those who vote for us and the people of New Zealand.” When asked what the basis for his desire to keep marriage between men and women only was, Baldock replied: “There doesn't need to be any other basis. We want to protect marriage as an institution between a man and a woman, it has been for thousands of years and should continue to be so.” Despite Baldock's denials of a Christian motive for his unnecessary bill, five out of United Future's eight MPs list Christian connections in their online biographies on the party's website. The current party was formed in 1999 as a merger between leader Peter Dunne's United Party and Future New Zealand, formerly known as the Christian Democrats. Baldock told the Dominion Post in August 2002 that children need to be taught Christian morals at school, and called for Family Planning to have its funding cut because it wasn't telling teenagers that the only place for sex was inside marriage. "If they're unwilling to change, then I think the government should alter their funding to support those who are actually telling the truth," he said.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 5th May 2005 - 12:00pm

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