Debating marriage equality

Last updated 16:35 02/08/2012

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.

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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Maria Baker   #1   07:57 pm Aug 02 2012

Seems pretty clear-cut to me too. Reading around, those that are trying to "protect marriage" seem to be proffering arguments that are against homosexuality rather than just homosexual marriage. The value of marriage is a delightful excuse under which they can spread hateful messages about homosexual relationships in general. Homosexuality does not equate to child molestation for starters; I hate to be blunt here but in history the Church (which many are falling back on for justifying their own bile) has had the monopoly on that. And the production of children is not the purpose of marriage- we do not deny the infertile or those with no desire to have children the opportunity to marry. I believe people are aware that their arguments against marriage equality fall short, but homophobia is rarely concerned with rhyme or reason.

Carl M   #2   08:06 pm Aug 02 2012

How can you even debate about something that doesn't effect you. You are either a control freak wanting a power trip or unhappy with your own life and wanting to try and inflict unhappiness on others to make you feel better about your self. There is no intelligent argument against gay marriage.

Aaron   #3   08:13 pm Aug 02 2012

I believe that if you don't believe in God then you should get a civil union instead of a marriage since they are virtually the same in a legal sense. Most NZers don't seem to be religious anymore so then the majority should have a civil union and then a minority would be married. Therefore gay people would be equal with the majority. Marriage was just a religious thing before a state law thing and since the government is now secular the Ministry of Births Deaths and Marriages should change to Civil Unions.

Racheal   #4   08:21 pm Aug 02 2012

Why Craig? Spearheading the opposition? Hardly. Family first would be that but reality is the opposition is little. You cant find a politician to stand up and oppose it because basically all agree and those who disagree are too scared to stand up in a debate. All know, even the opposition that it will be inevitable. Discrimination needs to end and equality will happan.

Billy the Kid   #5   08:36 pm Aug 02 2012

Mark--as you have declared your bias--you should have nothing further to do with this subject, while employed at Stuff.

Mitch   #6   08:53 pm Aug 02 2012

Marriage pre-dates Christianity, it goes back as far as we have recorded history. If the non-religious are going to be dictated to by the religious that are claiming rights to the word 'marriage', then perhaps those religions need to calculate how much they owe in royalties to the Pagan religions and the ancient cultures who were marrying for long before them.

Chuck Bird   #7   08:57 pm Aug 02 2012

After reading your bias reporting Mark I know why I comments regarding a referendum were blocked.

Michael   #8   09:13 pm Aug 02 2012

Aaron #3 - Actually religious groups took over a lot of traditions and rituals that had nothing to do with God. Marriage is first and foremost a recognition of love, and a desire to be in a indefinite partnership. Religious individuals can decide to involve that religion in their wedding, and indeed their marriage. However this is only their choice. All this bill is asking for is more choice for Gay and Lesbians, not less for others.

derek   #9   09:27 pm Aug 02 2012

just read the stuff interview, louisa says prue and I are each others wife, where does labour find these people,where is our country going!!,anyone see confused adopted kids running around,how low can our mps go?,is evil now good?where is the voice of reason,does national or labour have it?or is it the job of the conservative party that national used to be,ever noticed the minority is loud and the decent majoyority is quiet...little by little the frog is boiling,society is breaking down,equality,love,rights,you say,we will all pay the price,

Alan_Wilkinson   #10   09:51 pm Aug 02 2012

Billy, you are certainly kidding. A journalist who knows and declares his opinion is at least as honest and dependable as one in the back room who doesn't.

As far as I'm concerned, who can adopt should be first the natural parents' choice, not the Government's.

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