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DOMB idea defeated?

Wed 1 Jun 2005 In: Comment

Is the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill dead before it even arrives at the point of its first reading? According to a pissed-off Peter Dunne in Challenge Weekly, New Zealand's fundamentalist newspaper last week, it would appear so. Dunne whinged that the Labour Party had declined to support the private members bill in question, and cast dark aspersions about alleged actual motives of advocates of the Civil Union Act last year. Dunne argued that 'political correctness' had carried the day. Nonsense. Try 'constitutional correctness.' The Attorney-General reported back that he had serious misgivings about the radical constitutional implications of the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill, which sought to amend the Bill of Rights Act 1990's anti-discrimination provisions, purely to ban same-sex marriage. Critics of this piece of legislative gaybashing argued that it was unneccessary, and wasted parliamentary time over same-sex marriage. Until such time as Parliament decides otherwise, marriage will continue to be an exclusively heterosexual institution under the Marriage Act 1955. The Civil Union Act 2004 did not change that core provision, and the Court of Appeal has never been overruled on Quilter v Attorney-General a decade ago. Same-sex marriage is an irrelevant issue. Moreover, there is no written constitution in this country, so any Bill of Rights anti-discrimination clause amendments can be undone in any future New Zealand Parliament. So why do it in the first place, particularly when the Christian Right are the only ones who want this piece of legislative overkill? This isn't the United States, so it wouldn't have the force of a constitutional amendment. In fact, that's the problem. Despite Dunne's illusions, the general public is quite aware that United Future is a stealth fundamentalist party. In effect, the United Party died some time ago, and Dunne struck up a Faustian bargain that gave him access to Future New Zealand's organisation and infrastructure in return for the anchor of a safe parliamentary seat. Not only are they aware, but they're getting tired of nuisance votes on their pet obsessions while there are urgent social problems to deal with. One hopes our communities take the logical lesson from this shotgun marriage bill. That is, to avoid future unhappy confidence/supply or confidence arrangements, vote for happy nuptials, preferably a polygamous relationship between Labour, the Progressives and Greens at the next election! Recommended Reading: Challenge Weekly United Future Craig Young - 1st June 2005    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Wednesday, 1st June 2005 - 12:00pm

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