David Miller: Why I Support The Civil-Union Bill
Why I Am Supporting The Civil-Union Bill
I would have considered myself an ideal person to have on the ‘Enough is Enough’ march yesterday. After all, I am a heterosexual male, christened in the Church of England and raised by two parents, male and female, who are still together after nearly 35 years. Apart from the fact that I did not realise the rally was happening until the weekend, left it to late to book my airline tickets and am not a member of the Destiny Church, why was I not there?
The reason I was not at the march is that despite what Christian New Zealand may think, the Civil-Union and Relationships Bill is an important piece of legislation in this nation’s political and legal history that affects thousands of people. While the Government worries over the possibility that it may be hauled in front of the Human Rights Review Tribunal should it not become law, the bill offers legal protection and recognition to all New Zealanders and marks the acceptance that people do not have to be married or in different sex relationships before they are granted legal recognition and protection and that they do not have to suffer discrimination simply because of their lifestyle.
While I regard myself as something of an old-fashioned Englishman, the bill has relevance to me as I have chosen not to marry. There may come a time and place when I change my mind but until that day ever arrives, marriage holds no attraction for me and given the choice I will be entering into a de-facto relationship instead. My belief, and this is only my personal opinion, is that there is no need to consummate my relationship with a marriage ceremony that will only cost thousands of dollars to provide an occasion when my friends and family can all get dressed up in their finest clothes and consume as much of my free food and drink as humanly possible. I believe that marriage is something that should take place in a church and in my case, with a traditional Anglican ceremony, yet as someone who does not practice Christianity and a borderline atheist I feel that to do so would be most hypocritical hence I have chosen remain outside of wedlock.
The point I am raising here is that because of my choice, the Civil-Union Bill has relevance to me as it does anyone of a similar disposition or those in same sex relationships. So when I see people marching to Parliament and claiming Enough is Enough, what I want to know is do they believe that my way of life is wrong and if so why? Just because I do not choose to enter into marriage, does that make me a bad person or is it simply that they cannot get past people who live in same sex relationships and are targeting their anger and bigotry at them while conveniently ignoring people like myself?
If the churches in New Zealand choose not to allow same sex marriages to take place under their roofs then that is their prerogative. The legal system has no place in forcing them to do otherwise yet the churches and other so-called community standards groups should not preach their way of life onto others and deny them the rights that they themselves take for granted or somehow feel entitled to. This is the 21st Century and whether we like it or not, there are many different people living different ways of life and we cannot have a tiered system whereby one particular way of life is recognised and protected while others are not. Those who marched through Wellington yesterday are not being asked to agree with those who follow a different path, but just to accept that it is happening and will continue to happen. The differences in our society and the divergence amongst its people are what make it so wonderful and it is time that there was acceptance and tolerance for all by all. That is why I am supporting the Civil-Unions Bill.