The Herald reports:
New Act Leader Jamie Whyte is standing by his comments that incestuous relationships between consenting adults should not be illegal and says it would be “intellectually corrupt” of him not to be honest when asked such questions.
In an article published on The Ruminatorwebsite, former philosophy lecturer Dr Whyte was asked whether the state should intervene if adult siblings wanted to marry each other.
“Well personally, I don't think they [the State] should”, he replied, adding it was “a matter of almost no significance because it just doesn't happen”.
Dr Whyte told the Herald his response was based on his belief that: “I don't think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult”.
“I wonder who does believe the state should intervene in consensual adult acts?”
He said he was “very opposed” to incest.
“I find it very distasteful I don't know why anybody would do it but it's a question of principle about whether or not people ought to interfere with actions that do no harm to third parties just because they personally wouldn't do it.” …
His view was not Act policy and “nobody who votes for Act has anything to fear”.
I find it refreshing that a political leader will stand by his personal views, while making it clear they are not party policy. Whyte is a classical liberal. There are many areas of society where he thinks the Government should not play a role. He should not back away from his views. The media will go for the sensationalist headline, but he should maintain a position of saying “Yes this is my personal belief, but ACT is focusing on a b and c”.
Some ACT supporters will be uncomfortable with his views, but the public like someone who is genuine and doesn't hide behind weasel words.
I can be persuaded either way on whether there is a need for incest between consenting adults to be a criminal offence. There are good arguments for and against. But the reality is, as Dr Whyte said, that it is an almost non-existent issue in NZ and not an issue anyone will be casting their vote on.