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Civil Unions: Reaction (-aries)

Mon 13 Dec 2004 In: Comment

How did the Christian Right take their decisive loss over passage of the Civil Union Bill? There appear to have been three reactions. Roger Sowry and Judith Collins are now desperately trying to backtrack and say that they would have voted for same-sex marriage legislation instead of civil unions. Even more surprisingly, Peter Dunne has recognised that his grandstanding has caused damage to his long-term prospects for an enduring confidence/supply agreement after the next general election. He has argued for a conciliatory approach. While he did so, New Zealand First and National's caucus social conservative extremists appear to be oblivious to the damage that they've caused to the electoral prospects of their respective parties. Dail Jones won't be back if New Zealand First continues to poll at or about five percent, and good riddance. As for Little Nicky Smith and Brian Connell, it's just as well that Clem Simich was around to stand up for ordinary, decent mainstream National caucus and organisational members, as was Brian Donnelly within New Zealand First. Both gentlemen deserve credit for their unswerving support for justice for our communities. It's a shame that Clem will be retiring at the next general election, and that will be a considerable loss to his caucus. As for Don Brash, Katherine Rich needs to become next parliamentary party leader and return it to the bipartisan social liberalism of the nineties. She will need to abolish the shadow "family" portfolio and adopt proactive policies that speak to the needs of LGBT voters. Finally, there's United Future. Peter Dunne's turnaround is welcome, but Larry Baldock is mooting a so-called Defence or Definition of Marriage Bill. This is ridiculous and unneccessary. With the Relationships Bill yet to be debated on its second and third readings, our communities will be more focused on those issues than the distraction of same-sex marriage. With the exception of a tiny handful of enthusiasts, most of our communities recognise that same-sex marriage isn't a feasible option at this point in time. Given that Quilter v Attorney General [1995] prevents same-sex marriage, and that we don't have a written constitution in this country yet, a DOMB is a dumb idea. It wouldn't bind future Parliaments, and it would have to be a private members bill. Even if it was pulled from the ballot box, would Labour, the Greens or Progressives vote for it? Probably not. If Sowry and Collins mean what they say, there may be some additional support other than National and ACT's Magnificent Six plus Brian Donnelly, were that to happen before the next general election. Outside Parliament, Brian Tamaki will attempt to disrupt Auckland Harbour Bridge traffic on March 5th, 2005. Peter Mortlock (City Impact Church) will be collaborating with him over this issue, and the Enough is Enough website has been reactivated for this second Nurembergesque number. This time, it's called "Defending the Legacy." Watch this space and website for more information as it comes to hand. Craig Young - 13th December 2004    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Monday, 13th December 2004 - 12:00pm

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