The debate on same-sex marriage lacks context because its promoters have failed to take into account the equal rights already established in New Zealand law for same-sex couples.
Everyone remembers the passing of the Civil Unions Act in late 2004 because of the publicity it generated. The Civil Unions Act was followed by a companion Relationships (Statutory References) Act in early 2005 – the Relationships Act. It was passed by Parliament without fanfare and little publicity. It has therefore been missing from this debate because its purpose and legal effects are largely unknown to New Zealanders. Yet it is of crucial importance.
So what did the Relationships Act do? It amended more then 150 acts of Parliament to add, after every reference to “marriage”, the words “civil union and de facto” so there would be a complete and perfect legal equality between marriage, civil unions and heterosexual or homosexual de facto relationships. It means all couples, in any of these relationships, have the same rights under New Zealand law, with the possible exception of the adoption law.
This is a valid argument against same sex marriage. It is not one I agree with but it is a better argument than Colin Craig’s views that people choose to be gay.
Gordon Copeland is a former MP who was in Parliament in 2004-2005 when the Civil Unions and Relationships (Statutory References) Acts were passed. He opposed both.
This is what amuses me. You vote against bills to give same sex couples any legal recognition at all, and then use the fact you were defeated as an argument for why the law is now great and no further changes are needed.
It’s a bit like voting against women getting the vote, and then once you lose that vote arguing women don’t need to be able to stand for Parliament also because they have the vote, and that is what matters.