Editorial: Gay marriage a natural flow

The debate over whether gay people should be allowed to marry seems to be one that dwells on the fringes.

At one end there is a bunch of people who are aggressively pushing for it to be passed into law. Then, at a point as far away as possible, is a group of people who are battling just as hard for it not to happen.

Then, in the middle are a massive majority of people who actually don't care either way; stay the same, make a change, it just doesn't affect or bother them. But on the two sides of the battle, the two more passionate groups are willing to make enough noise to make it look as if everyone has strong views on the matter. The truth is, a lot of people don't.

Last week, Labour MP Louisa Wall's member's bill was drawn from the ballot, and could be debated as early as next month.

Early indications show that it has the numbers to be passed into law, much to the joy of one group and much to the dismay of another. The saddest part of the debate is the lack of it.

Instead, pro gay-marriage people paint their ideological adversaries as puritanical fundamentalist Christians, who hope all non-heterosexuals burn in hell. Conversely, the anti gay-marriage people portray their rivals as over-the-top flamboyant mega-liberals who only want to destroy the social fabric and the family unit as we know it.

While there may be minute numbers of each zealot grouping, those depictions are miles from the truth.

What we have are two systems of belief that simply will never see eye to eye and it turns into personal attack, rather than a debate about the pros and cons of gay marriage.

There seems to be no respect on either side for the beliefs held, and there needs to be. If gay marriage is not enshrined in legislation this time around, it is only a matter of time. The ground-breaking Civil Union Act 2004 paved the way for gay marriage, so why not a step further?

Those who were against civil unions feared all kinds of horrible things would happen to our society if that proposal passed into law.

Guess what? Those things never happened.

The only real impact was that couples got the chance to live the lives they wanted to. Allowing gay marriage is the next natural step in that progression.

ONE MORE THING: Nick Willis was a great choice for New Zealand's flag bearer. At his third Games he earned the right to do it. He also seems like the kind of athlete who will be boosted by the honour and hopefully that transfers into medal contention. Hopefully, he can do one better than his achievement at Beijing four years ago.

Manawatu Standard