Speak up for Women is a group of women who oppose the proposed changes to the Births Deaths and Marriages Act, which are before Parliament. The current law only allows someone to change the sex on their birth certificate with a Family Court declaration. The bill would change this so one can change your birth certificate sex merely by statutory declaration.
On the issue I actually lean more towards the bill, than the current law. I think a Family Court declaration is too onerous. I’m not entirely convinced going all the way to merely doing a statutory declaration is ideal either, but I certainly support making it easier. So I disagree with SUFW on this issue.
The key thing is this is an issue before Parliament. It is exactly the sort of issue that people should be able to advocate on. If you can’t take a position on a law change before Parliament, then we don’t really live in a democracy.
On the 1st of June SUFW booked the Palmerston North Library for a public meeting on 25 June. This would allow people interested in this issue to go along and hear SUFW’s view on the issue and ask questions. It also allows those who disagree to go along and ask questions,
This is a basic right in the Bill of Rights Act:
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.
But on the 17th of January the PN Library cancelled the booking, SUFW with support from the Free Speech Union applied for a judicial review and won. This is a major victory pushing back against cancel culture where bullies try and prevent speech they disagree with.
Some extracts from the Court decision:
- There is sufficient evidence before me at this stage to be clear that SUFW cannot rationally be described as a “hate group” in the sense that term can be relevant in making decisions about the extent to which a particular group should be allowed to exercise its rights of free speech and freedom of assembly.
- I consider the Council’s ultimate decision involved a significant failure to recognise SUFW’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly
- I consider the Council’s decision involved a serious failure to recognise the BORA rights of SUFW and its members.
- I consider the cancellation of the agreement reached with the Library, for the reasons and on the terms put forward by the Council, could not be considered a rational and reasonable limitation on those rights.
Palmerston North ratepayers will not be out of pocket by thousands of dollars due to the staff decision to try and cancel the booking.
This outcome shows why it is great we now have a Free Speech Union in New Zealand. Without the FSU, there would have been no way SUFW could have afforded to take legal action to uphold their rights. You can join the FSU here.
And other Councils are on notice now. If they give in to the bullies who try and suppress speech, then they will be taken to court, and lose.