Finance Minister Bill English, quoted on Stuff today:
deputy Prime Minister Bill English says [legalising same-sex marriage] is ”not that important” and he ”thought the problem had been solved” with civil unions.
Yes, I know, he probably meant “the problem” as in “the problem with same-sex couple relationships not getting the same legal recognition as hetero couple relationships”.
But that just means that he’s less a clumsy speaker and more an outright liar. Which is what you are if you peddle the bullshit argument that civil unions are just slightly different yet completely equal to marriages.
Forgive the tautology, but you know how I can tell that civil unions are different from marriage? (Beyond the actual obvious legal differences, e.g. being unable to adopt children as a couple).
Because civil unions exist.
If there were truly no difference, if civil unions were equivalent in social meaning and weight and importance and cultural significance, they would just be marriages.
We have civil unions precisely because enough judgemental hetero douchebags decided that scary gay people were not worthy of having what they got to take for granted.
Maybe in some future utopia there could be two distinct states, marriage vs. civil union, where the decision of a couple to pick one or the other truly came down to nothing more than personal preference, influenced by largely irrelevant historical religious/cultural/political leanings or simply an aesthetic choice on the words uttered at the ceremony.
But we, here and now, live in a society where we’ve pretty much all grown up knowing that marriage was important, marriage proved your relationship was real or permanent, marriage was the inevitable outcome of a successful falling-in-love happily-ever-after story.
And despite feminism, despite queer rights, despite that awesome divorce rate across the West (which truly shows how “sacred” and “special” the institution of marriage is), the fact is that marriage and the societal assumptions about it are still very important. Even when your partner is the same gender as you.
Back to Stuff. English, along with Joyce, then trots out the classic “it’s not a priority / it’s not the most important issue.”
Which, if we had a press gallery worth something, would immediately lead to the follow-up question, “Is the Minister saying that his Government is incapable of tying its shoes and chewing gum at the same time?”
We don’t, but we have a good start when our media start noticing that John Key, who voted against civil unions, magically comes out in carefully-worded support of at least introducing marriage equality legislation just as soon as Barack Obama says it’s cool.
Anyway, enough aggro. Louisa Wall’s bill has been drawn from the ballot. Let’s get our marriage equality on, people!
List of known MP leanings on a first reading at least – Damian O’Connor is a no, surprise surprise
For lulz, read the Conservative Party’s release on the subject, which demonstrates the Conservatives’ deep respect for the sanctity of marriage by referring to married people as “stakeholders”
Check out the Legalise Love website for more!