Editorial: Picture of a happy family

18:36, Jan 22 2013

We're fortunate to be able to publish a fair number of pictures of happy people in the Timaru Herald.

And the one near the bottom of yesterday's front page was on a par with any we've run in recent times.

That goes for all three of the people in the picture, partners John McIver and Tarewa Karetai and gorgeous seven-month-old baby Charlie, who the couple have just taken guardianship of, with the hope of one day being able to adopt her.

The happiness in that picture is significant because, as Mr Karetai acknowledges, there will be some who will not accept the idea of the three of them as a family.

That might be on religious grounds, or as a result of conservative or homophobic beliefs, which makes putting their story out there a reasonably brave thing to do.

And yet, with the story front page news here yesterday, on the Herald's website and up on its Facebook page, the reaction to the couple's happy news has been overwhelmingly positive. Indeed, many of those who have expressed their support for the new family have also voiced the hope that they will have the opportunity to formally adopt Charlie at some point in the future, as well as to get married.


Many, particularly on our Facebook page, expressed the view that Charlie will be ensured of growing up loved, which is surely a huge thing for any child.

"... what a lucky baby to be so wanted and loved by two devoted adults. More than many get in this world," said one poster. And there, surely, is the rub. As long as Charlie is loved and looked after in a devoted fashion, is that not enough, despite the fact that she may not be part of a traditional family unit.

It's significant that this story should emerge in the wake of news that Garth McVicar, the leader of the Sensible Sentencing Trust lobby group, had made a submission opposing Louisa Wall's gay marriage bill, suggesting that allowing its passage could lead to further crime problems.

He asserted it would further the erosion of societal morals and values, which had already led to an increase in problems such as child abuse and domestic violence.

Significantly, and in the absence of any clear evidence that homosexuals are disproportionately responsible for crime in our society, Mr McVicar's second-in-command, Ruth Money, quickly made clear that his submission was made in a personal capacity and did not reflect the trust's view.

Whether or not that augurs well for Charlie's two dads being able to marry and adopt her remains to be seen.

The Timaru Herald