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CU - What does it matter to you?

Sun 8 Aug 2004 In: Features

As the next round of voting on the Civil Unions Bill approaches and the Taliban masquerading as the Destiny Church perform a haka in Aotea Square, and as the Maxim Institute encourages people to use their children as cannon fodder to pursue their thinly veiled agenda of gay-bashing, there is one question which remains unanswered. To those people out there who are virulently opposed to the Civil Union Bill, I ask the question: WHY DO YOU CARE? Why do you feel threatened by the prospect of two people of the same sex, who love each other, legally committing to each other? In what way will your life be affected by two men or two women in your neighbourhood having legal recognition of their relationship? We are tired of that old non sequitur that extending the special rights that heterosexuals currently enjoy to all law-abiding, tax-paying citizens will destroy the sanctity of marriage. Tell us how, please. This meaningless mantra has been ceaselessly chanted, but until now, no one has been able to rationalise this claim. On the contrary, recent research indicates that in Denmark since same-sex marriages have been legal, the incidence of heterosexual marriage has actually increased. So how is giving Kiwi same-sex partners recognition of their relationships going to put your marriage on the skids? Perhaps the real reason that the homophobes don't want gays and lesbians to get married is because they don't want other people to suffer the same miserable marriages that they have. After all, if your relationship with your spouse is threatened at the prospect of two people of the same sex enjoying domestic bliss, surely the problem lies with you, and not them? In this case, I would seriously recommend that you devote your energies to attending to your own unstable marriage before the real threat to the institution of marriage - divorce - comes knocking at your door. Of course, to deflect attention away from their own marital inadequacies and personality disorders, many bigots grandstand with sound bytes about “moral fibre of the nation” and “family values.” One must seriously be suspicious of people whose family values embrace hate, rejection and self-righteousness. Trotting out all these clichés is surely just an excuse to meddle in other people affairs and tell them how to live their lives. It is noteworthy that every time Christians have shown up to introduce moral values to the heathen, the unhappy unbelievers have ended up with smallpox and syphilis, not to mention the psychological scars inflicted by large does of self-righteous guilt. I am sure they would have been a lot happier if they'd just been left alone in the first place. Other opponents to the Bill cite books as their justification to harass the innocent. They point out that the dictionary defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. They conveniently ignore that the meaning of words in a dictionary changes to reflect society's reality. The purpose of a dictionary is not to be prescriptive, but descriptive. To illustrate my point, look at a dictionary definition for the word “gay” a hundred years ago, and a contemporary definition. It is hoped that in the near future the meaning of the word “marriage” will be changed to reflect a relationship between two consenting adults, regardless of gender. The other book which is trotted out as the last refuge of those who feel that they have the right to impose their, often misguided, values on the rest of humanity, is the Bible. Let's get one thing straight. The Bible as a religious book is either accepted or rejected, based on the individual's belief system. It is not a legal document underpinning the secular laws of New Zealand. In New Zealand, where we are guaranteed freedom of religion, the religious beliefs of one sector of society cannot be imposed on others who do not share those beliefs. This is not Iran. Although we respect your right to believe in whatever you wish, please don't try and force your beliefs onto us. If you cannot show other people the same religious tolerance as you yourself demand, then maybe you should consider going to live somewhere else. Finally, the most logical thing to do if you oppose civil unions is simply not to enter into one with a homosexual! Stick to a partner of the opposite sex. And if you want the right to choose your own life-partner, then please don't deny the same right to others. After all, no one has the right to meddle in your private affairs, do they? Ken Cage is an independent writer living in Auckland. Ken Cage - 8th August 2004    

Credit: Ken Cage

First published: Sunday, 8th August 2004 - 12:00pm

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