Debating marriage equality

04:35, Aug 02 2012

Today, Stuff invited two key players in the marriage equality debate to answer reader questions. The live chat was a signal of the coverage we plan to deliver around what is shaping up to be a divisive issue.

Leading up to and since Labour MP Louisa Wall's Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill was drawn from the ballot, Stuff journalists have covered several angles in the debate. Our own coverage has been - and will continue to be - supplemented by content from Fairfax Media's provincial and metropolitan newsrooms across the country, and from our reporters at Parliament.

It is an extremely important piece of proposed legislation. Not only will it allow same-sex couples to marry, but it will also make it easier for them to adopt.

As New Zealanders, we have a strong track record for equal rights; it was New Zealand where women first won the right to vote, in 1893.

In 1985, young MP Fran Wilde led the Homosexual Law Reform Bill. It divided the nation but, finally, after a close vote, it passed into law. For the first time in New Zealand, sex between consenting men aged over 16 was legal.

In 1993, the Human Rights Act made discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.

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To me, the issue is simple and the answers are borne out of fundamental human rights: No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Or anything else, for that matter. Effectively, what's good for one is good for another.

But that's my own view, and I can see that the debate will not be so clear-cut for all of our readers. And, for that reason, we will bring all angles of the debate to our coverage. Today, for example, we had Conservative Party leader Colin Craig, who is spearheading opposition to the Bill, responding to reader questioning right alongside Wall, who is leading the Bill.

Stuff will pull together the various stories over the coming months into a dedicated section. We'll poll our audience, and we'll invite influencers to have their say on the site. We'll continue to cover both the political and the social issues as the Bill works it way through the House and is debated by our MPs.

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