Gay issues

Rainbow Wellington asked all the parties their views on various issues. For some reason they asked not just about gay issues but also weird stuff like prisoners having the vote. Anyway I thought the responses from the parties on and marriage (both of which I support) was interesting.

Gay Adoption

ACT – ACT supports ending the discrimination same sex couples face when trying to adopt a child. The Adoption Act 1955 is out-dated and the criteria for adoption should focus on how fit a person or people are to be parents, not their sexual orientation.

A very clear statement that states they support ending discrimination and that sexual orientation should not be a criteria, rather how fit people will be as parents.

Labour – Labour believes that the current adoption laws are antiquated and discriminatory, which need to be modernised and updated. The current Act fails to take into account the number of legislative changes introduced over the past decade areas such as assisted reproduction technology, surrogacy and the legal status of de facto relationships and civil unions. A Labour-led government will enact legislation that will require the Law Commission to review and update adoption law to better reflect modern New Zealand. Labour has already drafted and tabled a Bill to give effect to this.

What I find interesting is that Labour’s answer doesn’t in fact answer the question. They say the Act is discriminatory but don’t specifically say they will allow same sex adoptions. They just say it should be modernised and adopted.

Maori Party – If there is a need for children to be cared for we believe strongly that whānau, regardless of sexual orientation, must be encouraged to care for these children within the family.

Again very clear. The Greens to no surprise are also explicit.

Greens – The Green Party’s policy on this is that parenting skills are distinct from sexual orientation or gender identity. We support equal criteria for both ‘rainbow’ and heterosexual couples in their assessment for suitability and eligibility for parenting. Spokesperson Kevin Hague has formed and convenes a cross party group to reform adoption law.

National won’t commit either way:

We are aware of issue with the Adoption Act. It’s an old piece of legislation and has been identified as an area for potential review. We are currently running a very full justice agenda focused on making New Zealand safer, putting more police on our streets, and reducing crime. In the context of the current economic environment reform of adoption laws is not a priority for the Government.

Labour – Our initial focus has been to ensure that existing rights under marriage should also extend to civil unions, and we will complete that work. But Labour believes in formal equality before the law for people in any relationship status, including marriage.

Again, no specific commitment at all. Both times they avoid the question.

Greens – The Green Party strongly supports full equality and believes that this will eventually be achieved either through the amendment of the Marriage Act to include us, or through the repeal of the Marriage Act (which would leave civil unions as the method by which the state formally recognises relationships, and marriage as a purely religious institution).

I actually quite like the Green position of having the state registering relationships only, and leaving marriages to the different religions who could adopt their own rules.

ACT – To be clear now, I should have voted in favour of the Bill in all its stages. I admit I don’t understand why, having legalised civil unions between two people, irrespective of their gender, there is still pressure to provide for same sex ‘marriage’. In the English language I have always understood ‘marriage’ to be between a man and a woman.

Interesting to see Don say he should have voted for civil unions. I was disappointed when he didn’t vote for them at the final reading.

National – In the context of the current economic environment and our strong focus on providing stability, reducing debt, and returning to surplus by 2014 the government currently has no plans to amend the Marriage Act.

Of course on an issue such as this, most MPs will have a conscience vote regardless of party.

A reader has pointed out this quote from UK PM David Cameron:

“I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

Would be great to hear that from an MP here.

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