Editorial: Not the end of the world

Same-sex marriage will become legal in New Zealand. Sometime.

And that some time may be soon, with the drawing from the ballot 13 days ago of Labour MP Louisa Wall's Marriage Amendment Bill.

It will happen because the world is changing.

In New Zealand, the ground shifted in 1986, when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill became law. The public debate 26 years ago was intense, and the vote close . . . 49-44.

And then the ground shifted again in 2005, with the Civil Union Bill. (Yes, it really was seven years ago.)

Again, there was some lively debate, and the vote this time was 65-55.

Now we're facing another step, same-sex marriage, and some strong views are again being expressed, although not in the same numbers as before. Even the churches have been strangely quiet.

Those who have come forward have relied on selective passages from the Bible, but, as letter writer Sarah Parker points out on this page today, we'd be stoning people to death for growing two crops in the same paddock if we stuck to every utterance in the Bible.

What's really at issue here is the sanctity of marriage, and how much people think it might be undermined by a law allowing same sex versions of it.

I'm married . . . have been for a fairly long time. And my marriage means something to me, as opposed to living with the same person all these years and not being married.

But I don't feel threatened by people of the same sex also getting married.

I'm still going to value my marriage just as much. So what's the harm?

If marriage really is so precious, how come more than a third of marriages end in divorce?

If I've got a question it's what is the real driver here?

What's the difference for same sex couples in a civil union and a marriage? They are hardly likely to be allowed to get married in a church.

Louisa Wall says it's to create equality, and to give gay people the same choices everyone else has.

Another is to allow gay adoption, but how big an issue is that really? In New Zealand there are few children available for adoption anyway. And again, male-female pairings hardly provide the best examples of ideal parents in this country. Just read the court news each day.

Reading between the lines, this bill is likely to pass sooner rather than later.

And when it happens, there's every chance the sun will come up the next day.

The Timaru Herald