Thursday, 18 April 2013

Sometimes, you can be a bit proud of Parliament

I tuned in to Parliament TV last night and caught some of the final debate on New Zealand's same-sex marriage legislation. Parliament helpfully uploads everything to YouTube; here are some highlights. But if you like, just skip to the waiata at the end.

First, here's Labour's Louisa Wall, whose private member's bill led to all this:

National's Maurice Williamson's speech was rather nice; he noted the big gay rainbow in the sky over his rain-sodden electorate that morning could have been a sign. John Banks, ACT's MP, made the case for marriage equality based on fundamental rights. Banks is personally pretty conservative but has come a long way. Nice job. National's Nikki Kaye did a great job too. Green MP Kevin Hague talked about the importance of the bill to his community. Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell provided examples from Maori history of gays holding positions of prestige in their communities and argues that it was British colonial abolition of Maori customary marriage that broke that tradition; I really don't know enough about the history here.

After the vote, 77-44, Parliament broke into song, led by the Gallery. I'm told this is pretty rare. Here's the history of Pokarekare Ana, a New Zealand love song.

I'm not usually a fan of waiata. But this was very nice indeed.


  1. Well done New Zealand.

  2. I'll be the party pooper and disagree Eric.

    'Well done NZ' doesn't mean anything in this context. Marriage equality, and letting go the notion the government should be involved in marriage at all, should be a basic right beyond the vote. I found all the shenanigans last night absurd.

    And okay we've got that now, but how about legalisation of cannabis, and euthanasia ... do we wait another 140 years before we're allowed that?

    Last night simply showed we a kindy of a country, not a country of free grown ups.

  3. In our British Tradition, we have Common Law and Parliament, if buggery is to rule the day, then Parliament has to say yes, and they have. God help you all.

  4. We have rum. Bring back the lash and we could have a navy in the British tradition!

  5. I agree that first best is to have the state outside of marriage entirely and simply have the state enforce whatever contractual arrangements individuals wish to have enforced between them. And I agree that this is something that never should have been before Parliament and should have been a right that stood outside the state for ages. But, given the existence of the more expansive state and the seeming impossibility of extracting the state from marriage, and given that the State makes it difficult for individuals to contract around their marriage institutions for things like adoption rules, last night was a victory.

  6. Great news for New Zealand. However, I do think calling it "Marriage Equality" is slightly disingenuous - people in polyamorous relationships are still unable to get married or even form a civil union. It is in fact illegal under the Crimes Act (Bigamy s205)