This post has been rather overtaken by other far funnier events since I drafted it. But dammit I did proper research and everything so read the damn thing, then go back to the far funnier posts at The Civilian, Dim Post, and Scoop.
So, following the glorious third reading of the marriage equality bill, Colin Craig had dire warnings for our Parliament:
“The day of reckoning on the redefinition of marriage is still to come,” says Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig.
“Last night was not a vote of the people of New Zealand. If it had been, the answer would have been no.”
And he has precedent to back him up:
“We have seen the public vote disregarded on law and order, on the number of MP’s and on the Anti-Smacking Bill. Parliament’s unwillingness to even put the marriage issue to the people sadly comes as no surprise.”
Let’s take a look at just how convincing his precedents are.
Laura Norder & 99 bottles of MPs on the wall
In 1999 we the people voted on two referenda which served to illustrate a lot of the problems with citizens’ initiated referenda.
In one of the few unambiguously-worded referenda put to the NZ people, 81.5% of voters supported reducing the number of MPs in Parliament to 99.
In one of the stupidest referenda put to the NZ people, designed primarily to give people like the Nonsensical Sentencing Trust material for unjustified panic-mongering press releases for the next decade and a half, 91.78% of people voted yes to:
“Should there be a reform of our Justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?”
Restitution, focus on the victims, AND harsher sentencing and hard labour. That’s a clear-cut result if I ever saw one.
The referenda were held on election day and subsequently completely ignored by the incoming Labour/Alliance government. (NZ First MP Barbara Stewart did later put up a bill in 2006 on the number-of-MPs issue, which was shot down in Select Committee because it made no sense.)
Three years later, in 2002, the people’s vengeance was swift. Of the 120 MPs who had callously ignored the voice of the people:
- 57 retained their electorate seats
- 27 retained their list seats
- 4 MPs inherited seats from their party’s previous MP
- 5 MPs switched from list to electorate or vice versa
Quite interestingly (now I’ve slogged through all that), only four electorates actually changed party hands at all, and the government did not change (though some might argue that was proof of God’s wrath, or United Future getting the balance of power was God’s wrath, etc.)
And in today’s Parliament? 21 of those terrible evil wrath-of-God-to-descend-upon-them class-of-1999 MPs still hold the same seats. (3 were list MPs and gained seats).
As you can see, the carnage wreaked upon our Parliament as vengeance for the denied wishes of the electorate was massive and bloody.
Punching Larry Baldock in the face
In 2009 a truly dreadful referendum question was posed to the New Zealand public:
“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”
… which is no way loaded.
This of course followed on from the passage of the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act, meaning child abusers and other people who think hitting kids is neat-o could no longer get off scot-free for whipping teenagers with riding crops.
That Bill, introduced by Sue Bradford, was passed by the slimmest of slim margins: one hundred and thirteen to eight.
87.4% of voters (on 56% turnout, as it was a postal ballot) voted “No” on the referendum, which even John Key agreed was pretty meaningless.
Once again, Parliament ignored The Will Of The People. Result?
Of the MPs who voted in favour of not letting child abusers pretend their violence against minors was totes justified because they were being a brat:
- 48 electorate MPs were re-elected
- 27 list MPs returned on the list
Of the eight who voted against,
- Rodney Hide was re-elected in Epsom and dragged Heather Roy and a few more Actoids back in with him
- Everyone else fucked off
Gordon Copeland – who rage-quit from United Future over the issue – magically failed to gain any traction from it and was not re-elected to Parliament. His righteous, God-fearing Kiwi Party folded before the 2011 election.
But John Key, humble Member of Parliament for Helensville, may have suffered the greatest indignities, for through God’s loving wrath he was elevated to the office of Prime Minister and forced to appear on Letterman.
Now, there’s also the tiny trifling fact that the 2008 election was a bit of a smashing one , eliminating NZ First (temporarily), crushing United Future, resurrecting ACT, and seeing a bit of a swing towards National. So I guess the issue of smacking kids (and having fewer MPs and being tough on victim compensation or whatever) might not have been the number one thing on people’s minds.
Conclusion? Given Parliament’s callous disregard for the Will Of The People on stuff dating back to ’99, God has a heck of a lot of reckoning to get through before we need to worry about his marriage-equality-related vengeance. And even Colin Craig has already gotten bored enough with this particular travesty of democracy to get distracted by a satirical news site making fun of him.
So we’re probably going to be OK.
On marriage equality:
The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards don’t understand (or are pretending to not understand) that self-selecting phone-in polls are meaningless, especially when they’re getting a suspiciously big text bill this month.
The Civilian was the star media outlet on the ground, filing this insightful report mere moments after the vote was held.
Colin Craig continues to overestimate his own popular appeal – more on this one later.
On NZ Power
David Farrar is pretending to be stupid, and his commentariat are completely buying it.
Chris Trotter has caught the whiff of victory and has always been at war with Eastcunliffe.
Danyl McLauchlan is probably depressingly on the money.
My unsurprising reaction? Awesome to see Labour and the Greens working together. Awesome to see some real game-changing policy with big sexy BERL reports behind it. I can only hope they keep it up.
Here we go again: Colin Craig’s insisting that homosexuality is a choice. Previously, when asked in clear, simple terms, he stated unequivocally that he, himself, could “choose” to be gay.
Now, in a more muddled fashion, he’s testified before a Select Committee that
[Homosexuality is] a choice influenced by a number of things including genetics.
Yes, we are discriminating between relationships.
Why interesting? Because of a long-standing meme used by anti-gay rights activists to pretend that they’re not gigantic bigots: the pretend division between being gay and acting gay.
You’ve heard the line before: “we hate the sin, not the sinner.”
But let’s consider the logical focus of that statement, and Craig’s above: it’s on the sex. The couple-hood. The relationship. These people don’t care about one-guy-who-personally-and-in-his-own-time-likes-other-guys – no no no, it’s all about two-guys-doing-things-together.
Colin Craig’s real problem, the reason he thinks he himself could totally choose to be gay, is because he’s part of a conservative movement which is completely fixated on the cock.
But what about the lesbians???? you may cry, plaintively. Well, let’s put Colin Craig’s comment into context (with bonus alliteration!):
We are saying that marriage between a man and a woman is recognised. We are saying that a relationship between a man and a man, for example, goes down the path of a civil union
Was it really a more efficient use of breath to say “between a man and a man, for example” than to say “between two men or two women”? Not really. Now, if it were someone else talking, you might argue that they’re trying to break down biological essentialism, cis-normativity and the gender binary and when they say “for example” it’s because there are literally a dozen other sex/gender configurations of relationship that they could theoretically include.
Colin Craig … probably isn’t trying to break down biological essentialism, cis-normativity and the gender binary.
So why go straight to man-on-man matrimony? Why is that the “example” he lists out of the two (to him) possible options?
Because Colin Craig is fixated on the cock.
Colin Craig’s statement – once again, that he himself could totally “choose” to be gay – depends on this fixation. Because if you think of homosexual men as being normal human beings, who feel and love and are attracted to each other and go out on dates and play footsie under the table and cuddle and buy each other flowers or craft beer or power tools or just have super-hot one-night stands … well then you’d find the idea of “choosing” to be oriented towards liking other guys ridiculous.
On the other hand, if you think of homosexual men purely in terms of being people-with-cocks who do naughty things with other people-with-cocks … then sure, you could honestly labour under the illusion that homosexuality is a “choice”. Because you could totally suck another guy’s cock if you really had to. It wouldn’t be enjoyable, it wouldn’t be passionate, it wouldn’t be erotic to you, but you literally have the physical capacity to open your mouth and place it over a cock.
That’s what “being homosexual” means to Colin Craig. Cock.
The reason this just makes me laugh, though? Is that this attitude comes from the people who want to dictate what love is. Who want to have dibs on “love” and “specialness” and “caring” and “committed”. Yet they so lack empathy for their fellow human beings that they sincerely believe the only thing that “makes” a person say “I’m gay” is that they occasionally, for no actual reason, want to get nasty with someone who has the same junk as them.
It makes you wonder, the same way you have to wonder when religious fundamentalists start saying things like “if we don’t have prayer in schools, everyone will turn into a serial killer.” Is that really all that’s stopping you? God (though please note how carefully our homegrown fundies avoid mentioning Him in their arguments) sitting up there saying “DON’T SUCK COCK” is the only reason you’re not hanging out in gay bars wearing a t-shirt saying “Do me”?
This is the point where some people would make the usual jokes about “what is Craig hiding” and “how long before he gets caught foot-tapping in a public loo”. But I don’t assume Colin Craig is secretly gay. I assume he’s just so fucking soulless that he really doesn’t understand human emotion. He’s just going through the motions of what he’s been told is “normal”. And seeing that “normal” being changed by the evolution of society? Fucking terrifies him.
On the other hand, he could just be a hateful troll whose continuing “credibility” in the eyes of our media establishment is one of the reasons people have stopped buying newspapers.
I really do want to thank Colin Craig and Bob McCoskrie for this much: they may have done far more work than we filthy smut-peddling liberals could ever have done to make people realise how utterly repellent the “religious right” / “moral majority” is.
I keep seeing comments on Facebook where, for example, Colin and Bob’s Australian counterparts have declared smoking is better for your health than letting same-sex couples marry. Good, ordinary, decent New Zealanders who aren’t particularly political, aren’t raving feminists like myself, are sitting back and thinking/typing, “Why the hell would they say that?”
And there, a lovely window of opportunity opens. An opportunity to say, “Well. You know how Bob and Colin and their friends keep talking about the specialness of marriage and respecting other people? When they say things like that, they’re basically saying that gay men (because it’s always gay men for Bob and Colin) are promiscuous and unsafe and all have AIDS. They’re repeating propaganda from the 80s. And you know what? They think you will agree with them.”
Watch, as the common or garden variety Kiwi recoils in horror. “But – but I just thought marriage was neat! I thought civil unions meant the same thing! I don’t hate gay people!”
“I’m sorry, dear Ordinary New Zealander,” we get to say. “But the people who keep talking about marriage being special are really just a bunch of gay-bashers who do hate gay people.”
So thanks, Colin and Bob and your many and varied companion-bigots. You’re converting far more people to our side than we could ever have managed.
I mean, we’re talking about a dude who claims some level of expertise on parenting and family dynamics, and then when actually put on the spot and asked how many same-sex parenting couples he knows, answers:
“I actually do know of a couple, I don’t know them well. I wouldn’t say they were friends of mine.”
Colin Craig doesn’t have a lot of gay friends? I can tell you’re shocked.
Anyway, the delightful judgmental asshat touched today on one of my least favourite tropes: the “only bio-daddy and bio-mummy can possibly raise normal kids” line.
“The differences between homosexuals as parents and a mum and a dad as parents are very, very significant,” he says.
“Seeing how an adult woman and an adult man live and how they work together is fantastic, positive and important for children.”
In Colin Craig’s world, parenting is basically nothing more than correctly acting out his mythical 1950s Perfect Gender Roles so that the kiddies will thoughtlessly mimic those roles and nothing will ever inflame Colin’s massive throbbing bigotry gland.
Let’s remember that Colin Craig, and allies like Bob McCoskrie and his imaginary friends, are the people pretending to be about love. Pretending to be about compassion. Pretending to give a shit about children.
Yet Colin Craig, right there, said to a hell of a lot of people, “You aren’t good parents. You’re messing up children’s lives.”
Even if you’re a widow or widower, doing your best for the kids after a parent has died. Even if you’re a grandparent, stepping in to help your own kids when they can’t handle the responsibility of childrearing. Even if you’re an auntie or an uncle who’s always there for them, if you’re a cousin who lives in the same house and babysits them while their parents have to work, even if you’re an older sibling who’s stepped into the parental role –
Colin Craig thinks you aren’t worth shit, basically. Because
“Love is not all that matters.”
So screw you. You might be looking out for a kid, you might be the person who feeds and clothes them, helps them with their homework, takes them to the park, teaches them how to knit or fish or ride a bike, but if you’re not playing a part in some ludicrous Don and Betty Draper masquerade? The people who claim to be for families and about children think you’re worthless.
Because the junk in his pants and the flowers on her apron are what really helps kids.
How wonderfully caring.
Since I’ve been linked to from the Herald a few times now, I feel oddly compelled to let you know up front that this one gets sweary, people. I make no apologies.
Louisa Wall and Colin Craig appeared on Q&A to discuss the marriage equality / adoption equality issue.*
Colin Craig’s statements were, happily, entirely illustrative of his bullshit, unjustifiable stance on the topics (his refusal to answer the question “do you respect members of the gay community who want this” especially so):
SHANE Colin Craig, do you support one law for all?
MR CRAIG I support equal rights and privileges for all New Zealanders.
SHANE One law for all, though?
MR CRAIG Yeah, I don’t like that phrase, but equal rights and privileges for New Zealanders.
SHANE So why do you support one law for heterosexuals and one law for homosexuals?
MR CRAIG Well, look, I agree with civil unions. … What we’re talking about here is who has the right to use and define the word “marriage”, and I believe there’s a status quo. We’ve got generation after generation, marriage has been between and a woman, and that is what I believe the New Zealanders want. They’ve got cultural investment in this, historical investment in this, religious investment in this.
So Colin basically thinks New Zealanders should have equal rights and privileges, except for the heteros who get exclusive domain of the word “marriage”. Which is apparently simultaneously a minor, piffling matter, but also vitally important to our cultural identity. (And remember, it’s those scary queer people who want “special” rights!)
One hates to invoke anecdata, but you know? I can’t think of a single married couple I know who thought “shit yeah, getting a bit of paper that The Gays can’t get really shows how strong our relationship is!”
MR CRAIG The only difference here is the word “marriage”. I mean, we’re not talking about an issue of equality across other things.
Colin Craig, you are a fucking liar. Or a complete, ignorant numpty. Possibly both. I’m going with both.
A Civil Union is not recognised in the same way as a marriage out of New Zealand. If you wish to be legally recognised as Civil Unions partners in another country, you would have to apply in the country you wish to live in, if they have this law.
Civil Union partners do not at present have the right to adopt a child
Bonus objectifying language from Colin for the win:
There are a number of homosexuals who take a different view.
I imagine him pronouncing it the way Mr Gormsby does.
But here’s the bit I wanted to address specifically:
MR CRAIG OK, I support the existing law. … Now, I actually think – and it’s my opinion – I actually think there are difference between a man and a woman. I actually think that when we get to choose the environment in which a child grows up, to have both a male and female role model, a mum and a dad is the ideal, and therefore I do support that restriction.
And please pardon the unladylike nature of the next sentence:
FUCK YOU, COLIN CRAIG. ON BEHALF OF ALL THE MEN WHO STOOD AS MALE ROLE MODELS FOR ME IN MY CHILDHOOD, FUCK. YOU.
It’s obvious enough that Colin Craig is talking absolute shit when he equates “having a male and female role model” with “a mum and dad” – and that’s even if we pass by the wonderfully archaic gender essentialism, the indignant “well I actually think boys and girls are different” defence.
But fuck, this fucks me right off.
Y’see, folks, the man responsible for ejaculating in my mother’s vague direction at an optimal ovulation point wanted sweet fuck all to do with me (probably also the fault of gay people undermining the Sanctity Of The Family or something). So he fucked off.
Now, apparently this spells immediate Becoming Another Child Abuse / Teen Pregnancy / Drug Use Statistic for the infant Queen of Thorns – after all, no dad, no Male Role Model to keep her straight and narrow, straight being the most important bit.
(Of course, infant Queen of Thorns having been assigned gender “female” at birth probably means Male Role Models Aren’t As Important For Her or something, but bear with me.)
Patriarchal wankoffs like Colin Craig want to pretend that my upbringing, sans one out of two gamete-donors, must have been immediately disadvantaged, a permanent stain on my psyche. My mother remaining single is, after all, only marginally better than my mother taking up with another woman, which must have scarred me irreparably.
But hang on.
Who are those guys over there?
Why look, it’s my grandfather, who among other things imbued me with a love of science fiction and an allergy to terrible puns. It’s my uncle, who has exactly my sense of humour. My stepdad, whose strict regimen of Culturally Important Experiences (largely involving classic films and NZ music of the 70s) allow me to make obscure references no one else my age gets to this day. And all the other men in our extended family and community who each stood as another example of What Men Are Like and How Men May Act and who, bygiving a shit about my welfare and growth, did a fuckload more for me than Mr Sperm Donor Fuckhead did before he vanished from my life.
Basically, male role models? I had fucking plenty. And most of them were pretty kickass, and, sorry, Colin, most of them made significant contributions to the sweary, ranty, righteous, fuck-you-I-won’t-do-what-you-tell-me personality you see before you today.
The idea that my mother, in some parallel universe, hooking up with a woman at any point after my arrival (and, tragically, having some kind of deep and committed relationship!!!!) would somehow have denied me these important relationships is complete. Fucking. Bullshit.
And I love my mum, but the idea that she was somehow my Only Possible Female Role Model is likewise bullshit. (Especially given the dominance of women in New Zealand teaching and early childhood education.)
The idea that in some pseudo-1950s Golden Age, I would have automatically been better off either (a) being raised by parents forced to marry following my conception or (b) being taken from my mother and raised by a complete different grab-bag of people … is complete. Fucking. Bullshit.
And let’s be honest here, when people start talking about “traditional family values” or “returning to a better time”, that’s what they mean. Oh, they will protest, no, we just meant the good parts of a fantasy past where all marriages were completely permanently perfect and all pregnancies completely safe and wanted. But ain’t it just like fundy fuckstains to pretend that their utopia is completely unproblematic?
Children are not raised in a vacuum, in which emotional or psychological development can only be performed by Female Parental Unit A and Male Parental Unit B. And it is fucking insulting to all the people out there who do play roles in the lives of children who they don’t even own – because that’s what this is about at its core, classic, ancient, patriarchal “rraaaa! My bloodline must be propagated to prove my virility! Behold the children I claim to show the power of my wang! Rrraaa!” – to act like if you don’t get called Mummy or Daddy you may as well go home.
If I could take my childhood over again I would not change one fucking thing, Colin. Because I fail to see what Mr Deadbeat Fuckhead could have done to make me any more awesome than I am today.
In my heart of hearts, I’m deeply hoping for a “maybe he would’ve given you a damn good spanking and turned you into more of a lady!” response. Please don’t disappoint me.
All I’m saying is, should Banks get kicked out on his ass over being an allegedly horrifically corrupt douchewad, and whatever the result we’ll still have two and a half more years of political buffoonery to endure, can we at least make the National-led government reliant on someone who uses Maire Claire polls as a basis for policy?