Times are a changing: about time

For those who don't know, New Zealand's Parliament has just voted on a bill called the Marriage Equality Bill (MEB). What the bill essentially proposes is that same-sex couples can be afforded the same marital rights as heterosexual couples. The vote was pretty convincing with 80 ayes and 40 nayes. This doesn't mean the bill has passed into law but it does mean the process has begun. The bill first needs to go to select committee and voted on twice more. However, it seems very likely that the bill will pass and become an Act (i.e. the law). This will be a momentous occasion and should be celebrated by all New Zealanders.

Sadly there are a minority who think that their outdated and bigoted views should determine the rights of other humans. This minority typically consists of religious conservatives (are you surprised?). The prominent organised groups that I have encountered are The Conservative Party of New Zealand and Protect Marriage NZ. Their arguments against the bill surround the definition of marriage, or at least what they think the definition should be. They claim that marriage is only between a man and woman, an argument that is religiously charged. I see no problem redefining marriage in the legal sense if it means equal rights for fellow humans. In a less clinical sense marriage is an open commitment and expression of love for another person. That is how I view my marriage and that is how I view any other marriage. Another common strategy employed is the allusion to a 'slippery slope': if gays can marry what next? Legalising incest and bestiality? It is remarkable that somehow homosexuality is equated with incest and bestiality.

Colin Craig is also one of those bigots that thinks homosexuality is a choice and it is not normal or is unnatural. Of course anyone without a preconceived agenda knows that is bullshit and it is hardly worth getting into. I have written about the spectrum of sexuality in the past which demonstrates that 'normal' is an obtuse word with regard to sexuality. The 'unnatural' argument is a nonstarter. There is truckloads of evidence that homo- or bisexual behavior occurs in over 1000 animal species. Specifically, bonobos (our closest living relatives along with chimpanzees) are apparently fully bisexual suggesting that homo- and bisexuality is anything but unnatural.

Recently, Colin Craig (leader of The Conservative Party of NZ) has been calling for a referendum on the issue. He wants to put the fundamental rights of a minority in the hands of the majority, a strategy that is morally objectionable. Nonetheless, the issue is contentious and people have their opinions. Guess what the opinion was? Two to one 2:1 in favour of the bill according to polls. Interestingly the bill passed its first vote in Parliament two to one, exactly in line with the opinion polls. Seems pretty democratic and consistent with what the people of NZ want. Despite this Colin Craig thinks that it is undemocratic to exclude the public from deciding the issue and that MPs should not be the deciders on the bill. Craig then goes on to say that MPs voted against the desires of their constituents but provides not evidence for his claim. It would have taken a huge number of MPs to vote contrary to their constituents desires making his claim exceptionally unlikely, particularly when we look at the synergy between opinion polls and MPs' votes.

In regard to this whole thing I have had a 'personal experience' with Colin Craig. I, and many others, were directed through social media to his facebook page where he shared his press release of the above situation. Several people commented pointing out the flaws in his logic (i.e. democracy had not failed but succeeded). He proceeded to delete the comments that went against his views. I decided to comment too: he gave me the same treatment and barred me from future comments. In the end Craig got so many comments that were wrong and undemocratic (i.e. not in line with his views) he deleted the whole post. He is an astoundingly silly man who couldn't see the irony in what he was doing. Fortunately I took some screen shots of my comments before and after (see below and see here for a much larger set of before and after deletion).  Subsequently I went to the Conservative Party's facebook page and made some comments for which I got the same treatment. They haven't taken that post down so why not head over and have your say too. I also got accused of trolling despite my comments being civil and directly relevant to the post and comments from others. I wonder what Jesus would have done?

Before deletion

After deletion

Ultimately I have learned a couple of things: (1) Colin Craig and his associates are bigoted hypocrites and (2) New Zealand's gay couples will have the same rights as their fellow humans. Boo for the former and hurray for the latter.