This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 18 April 2013.
I’m typing this post up, just as Louisa Wall’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill has been made law by a 77-40-something vote. (I may also have been drinking a liiiiiiiiiittle bit of cider.)
And I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I have to ask: what’s next?
Jami-Lee Ross made comments about our abortion laws in his speech – which is fantastic, because it says he doesn’t fear the word. But he talked about it being decriminalized – and it isn’t, really. Do we dare go there?
And as Steve Grey spelled out in his recent post here, there’s a lot m0re going on for queer/LGBT/QUILTBAG folk in NZ than just the right to marry.
Marriage equality means we’ve finally recognised in law that same-sex two-person relationships are equal to heterosexual two-person relationships. But what about poly people? What about genderqueer people who don’t want to be assigned to one of two categories? And what about the continuing violence and oppression and consequent self-harm of our young queer people?
In Parliament tonight, MPs spoke about takataapui, about transgender people no longer being forced to divorce, about intersex people. There’s a lot more issues out there, and being able to call yourself a bride (because contrary to popular fundy bigot belief, a lot of queer people do use words like wife and husband and bride and groom) is just one step on the path to really accepting allthe wonderful and diverse loving relationships that New Zealanders are involved in.
Tonight, I’m drinking celebratory cider. Tomorrow, we need to take the next steps.
I highly recommend lprent’s post on the best speeches so far at The Standard, and would add Mojo Mathers’, which seriously made me cry.
It’s been nearly six months since our last visit to the alternate universe occupied by Family First-commissioned Curia polls. Do you think they’ve learned not to be lying shitbags yets?
Do you agree with the statement,
“There was no need for Parliament to change the definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry, as civil unions were sufficient for same sex couples.”
44% agreed, “half” disagreed.
What Family First thinks this means:
the country still remains deeply divided on the issue [of same-sex marriage]
… So that’s a “no” on the shitbag question.
What this poll actually means:
Some people thought civil unions for same-sex couples was legally equivalent to state-recognised marriages – a belief no doubt helped by organisations like Family First which consistently lie about the clear legal differences between marriage and civil unions – legal differences which they themselves mention in relation to their second question, “do you think children need to have a 50/50 penis-vagina split in their parents’ pants to be normal?”
What this poll also actually means:
David Farrar is an unethical douche who would, if he had any integrity as a pollster, either reject Family First’s questions or clearly state that he disagrees with their manipulation of the facts.
Next time on How Not to Poll With Curia And Family First:
Overwhelming numbers of Kiwis think food is a good thing to have as part of your daily diet! And when we replaced the phrase “definitions of marriage inaccurately described as Biblical” with “puppies” you may be surprised how many people agree with our bigoted point of view!
UK-based blog Liberal Conspiracy has a great post up about why the Conservative Party (no no, not our hilarious bunch) is facing such a fight on marriage equality* despite the majority of the population supporting it.
The bit that fascinates me is the diagram showing all the interlinks between extremist conservative groups in the UK – and to the US.
What might a NZ version look like, I wonder?
*I must point out, thanks to @graceishuman, that the UK’s definition of marriage equality is particularly lacking in its mistreatment of trans people. It may have just gotten a little better – that article isn’t particularly clear – but still not good.
Lew has a great post up at Kiwipolitico about Recognising your enemy, following the passage of marriage equality in NZ. He quotes Kevin Hague MP’s third reading speech, which I shall in turn borrow (this is what we liberals call “giving credit”, Mr McCoskrie):
Over the years I have campaigned hard for the right of our communities to not be outsiders any more, to assume a full place in New Zealand society. With every new reform, the same group uses the same strategy, raising fears of terrible consequences which always fail to materialise.
In the case of marriage equality and queer rights in general, the same strategy usually boils down to “scaremonger about some slippery slope” – the Marry My Dog strategy (Stephen Franks) or the Mormons Will Marry All Your Daughters strategy (McCoskrie).
But exactly the same principle applies to a subject near and dear to my heart: reproductive rights. Because it’s exactly the same. The same old enemies with the same old arguments threatening the same old downfall of society.
And as Lew’s post suggests, recognising our enemy and his (invariably, inevitably his) strategy is a very important step to take. Add to that, I think exposing that strategy is an important point – saying to people “look, there’s Colin Craig, last time he was in the news he said you’d get locked up for giving your kid a dirty look, and he was completely off the mark on that one, wasn’t he?” and demonstrating again and again that, on pretty much every progressive battlefront, we are up against opportunistic lying scumbags who can’t handle anyone making different life choices to them.
So today, I want to highlight the enemy in the reproductive rights struggle – and the queer rights struggle. Because this is about Right to Zygote Life’s press release on the passage of marriage equality. Same enemy, people.
What they tried to hide during the marriage equality debate was the essential fundamentalist Christian bigotry behind their arguments. Note all the talk about “traditional values”, and “history”, and “culture”, and very little about the Bible or Jesus (who incidentally had fuck-all to say on the subject).
In this increasingly secular, open-minded society, it is imperative for the fundies to distance themselves from the religious prejudice which is the foundation of everything they say and do.
But sometimes they slip up.
So here it is: RTL’s response to marriage equality, a topic somewhat outside their usual purview. In a single press release they manage to mention God no fewer than eight times in a total of 406 words (counting capitalised masculine pronouns, God is 2.5% of the release). They explicitly state that sex should only be for procreation, they give a shout-out to the Culture of Death (still, sadly, not a thrash metal band), they still aren’t over people taking the Pill.
The twist is that, having failed on multiple occasions to make us all believe that hurricanes, earthquakes and drought are God’s punishment for our sins, they’ve now decided that homosexuality itself is the divine judgement upon us. Which is a little circular, but we are dealing with people who also haven’t caught up with in vitro fertilisation.
The widespread acceptance of homosexuality could be God’s punishment on society. The challenge for society is a renewed commitment to marriage as instituted by God. We have sown the wind we are now reaping the whirlwind.
I look forward to high-fiving the first gay porn producer who manages to work “Reap my whirlwind” into a script.
But I’m getting a little off-topic. The point is this: you and I ranty liberal bloggy types already knew full well that opposition to every progressive development of the last 50 years has come from an increasingly irrelevant, diminishing branch of extremist Christianity. In the next battle, let’s shout it from the rooftops.
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.
And because I don’t even care …
No one’s surprised: the “ad hoc” group New Zealanders for
Heterosexual Cisgendered Marriage is represented by Gordon Copeland, former MP, former failed political party leader. So it’s “ad hoc” in the sense that Gates McFadden might speak for an “ad hoc” dance group, or David Lynch might be quoted about an “ad hoc” surrealist film.
And their latest ad hoc press release is a marvellously creative work of fiction:
On Wednesday night …approximately 600 people descended on Parliament grounds in a Prayer Vigil to pray for the upholding of the dignity of Marriage. The participants represented a cross-section of society from various Christian traditions and ethnic backgrounds consisting of both young and old alike, to give a united public witness to the belief in the Traditional definition of Marriage.
A cross-section of society … who all incidentally share identical interpretations of certain religious doctrines. Mmmm, diversity.
Sharing their belief in a Traditional definition of Marriage. Which isn’t even supported by the holy book of the “various Christian traditions” they claim to follow.
Christian leaders … led prayers and reflections based on Scripture.
Just not the ones cited above.
Each shared the belief that Marriage is a union between a man and a woman not only from a Christian point of view, but also from the witness of other sciences, including reasons based on natural law.
And here’s the bit that pisses me off. The implication that a “Christian point of view” (a) ignores a hell of a lot of what the Bible says about marriage (b) involves being a fucking bigot and (c) is some kind of universal constant. Like all these other Christian leaders who support marriage equality are blaspheming demon spawn for taking a different view.
I do have to giggle at the “natural law” bit, though. Because … seriously.
Still, I guess if you’re going to bald-faced lie about your own holy faith, you may as well lie about science too.
You can always spot the brave defenders-of-tradition and stalwart crusaders for morality by the way they anonymously leaflet people’s cars with their lies.
Opponents of same-sex marriage are being slammed for distributing leaflets saying legalising the move will result in more incidences of AIDS and syphilis, and see the end of titles such as “husband and wife”.
The leaflets were placed on cars in Auckland yesterday, including at AUT on the North Shore.
Mind you, I can see the twisted logic in play; if you’re credulous enough to listen to a single thing Bob McCoskrie and Colin Craig say you probably honestly believe that The Gays are only interested in Stealing Marriage so they can Invade Our Churches and Give Our Children Syphilis, because that’s exactly what fundy conservatives tell their followers.
Only they use words like “special rights” and “liberal sex education” to do it.
In other news, gosh! Conservatives actually design and manipulate research to get the answers they want! No way!
Mark Regnerus has admitted his “family structures” study didn’t actually measure gay parenting, comparing the children of separated parents who had same-sex relationships with those of married opposite-sex parents. An internal auditor of the journal that published the Regnerus study last year concluded its findings were “bullshit” because this false comparison doesn’t adequately measure same-sex parenting.
For those not in the mood for clicking, here’s a taster of the “bullshit” article:
[Sherkat] found that its definition of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” — as any parent who had any relationship of any length of time with a person of the same sex — was so “extremely misleading” that it should have “disqualified it immediately.”
I’ve made out with a woman, ergo when I have kids I will be classified as a “lesbian mother”. Sounds legit.
Someone remind me again, what does the Christian holy book have to say on the subject of being a lying judgemental sanctimonious git?
Nice news first: Kevin Hague MP laughs at Bob McCoskrie’s latest derail attempt on the marriage equality debate.
It’s true that there were people who would have liked to make an oral submission who did not get a chance to (probably more in favour than against, in fact). But I am absolutely confident that every member of the Committee, both those in favour of and against the Bill, would put hand on heart to say that the submissions we heard were a fair reflection of the entire range of arguments that submitters made in their written submissions.
Yes, I personally cannot imagine why the Select Committee would have deprived themselves of the chance to have several hundred more oral submissions from confused-looking people whose arguments essentially boil down to “because Colin Craig, um, said gay people will steal our churches, um.”
In less amusing news, it looks like coroner Gordon Matenga is a judgemental scumbag who at the very least should have recused himself from the case of Corporal Douglas Hughes, so as to avoid any impression people might get that his rampant religious homophobia influenced his decision not to order a full inquest.
But given that he decided to make a submission against the Marriage Equality Bill which refers to same-sex marriage as a “social experiment” – despite Attorney-General Chris Finlayson’s wonderfully carefully-worded advice that
judges and coroners could make submissions “in appropriate circumstances” on well-established technical legal issues
… we are clearly not dealing with someone who can be relied upon to exercise basic ethical judgement.
The full text of Matenga’s submission is here. You will note the classic religious fundamentalist line, “it’s bad because I say it’s bad and that makes it bad”, forms the bulk of his argument, and that he thinks the human right involved in this debate is “freedom of association“, because men loving other men and women loving other women is exactly the same as joining a union. Or a religion.