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Greens Support Rights For Same Sex Couples

The Green Party delivered their submission on same sex couples and the law this afternoon, saying the party supported the Human Rights Act applying to all aspects of the social and legal framework of New Zealand.

The submission was made on the discussion document from the Ministry of Justice entitled 'Same Sex Couples and the Law'. Submissions close at the end of April.

Rainbow Greens co-ordinator Richard Davies said the Green Party believed the Human Rights Act must apply fully to all people, including same sex couples and that the right to marry should be applied to all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.

"We understand that the likely outcome of this consultation will be the recommendation of registered partnership provisions for same sex couples," said Mr Davies.

"This will achieve the legal protection for gay and lesbian couples which will be a huge advance on the present situation, for those who want their relationship registered.

"The Greens will support this development only as a step towards full legal and social recognition of same sex relationships in New Zealand," he said. "There is absolutely no justification for any institutional discrimination in this country."

Mr Davies said Green Party policy was to fully uphold the rights of gay and lesbian couples in matters of child care and adoption.

"The criteria for child care and adoption has nothing at all to do with the gender of the couple," he said. "It has everything to do with security and love."

In their submission the Green Party said the issues surrounding partnerships for both different sex and same sex couples clearly indicated that the law was not coping with the diversity within our society.

"The Greens hope that the Ministry of Justice will continue the process begun with this discussion paper by examining the whole area of partnership law as it applies to all couples and relationships," said Mr Davies.

Ends

Copies of submission available on request

Richard Davies: 03 525 9013 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

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Submission from Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand to the Ministry of Justice on the 'Same Sex Couples and the Law' Discussion Paper .

It is a matter of principle for the Green Party that the Human Rights Act should apply to all aspects of the social and legal framework of New Zealand.

There is no place in our society for personal or institutional discrimination. Indeed Greens believe that the variety within our country on which discrimination is based should not just be tolerated but positively celebrated.

We embrace diversity. Its experience enriches us all. Present day legal discrimination is nowhere more noticeable than in the treatment of same sex couples. The Green Party regards this as a shameful blot on the laws of New Zealand.

The Greens support same sex couples being given the full protection of the law. The promotion of equality implies that the identical criteria must be used irrespective of the sexual orientation or gender of the partners. The most direct and simple way to achieve this is the alteration of the definition of marriage to include same sex couples.

Gay and lesbian couples should be given legal and social recognition for all purposes in exactly identical ways as heterosexual couples are at present. In this way, the expectations of the Human Rights Act would be fulfilled, discriminatory laws would be over turned, and justice would be done.

The Green Party recognises that the most likely outcome of this submission process is strong pressure for the introduction of a system of registration of partnership for same sex couples. We consider this a definite legal improvement on the present situation. However, in principle it is less satisfactory than changing the definition of marriage as recommended above.

The Greens support equal criteria for both same sex and heterosexual couples in their assessment of suitability and eligibility for parenting. This statement covers guardianship, adoption and child care.

The Green Party believes that the legal and social treatment of all partnerships in a strictly identical manner to be a human rights issue within the civil society of this country. At the same time we acknowledge that religious groups may continue to promote other marriage criteria for their own adherents.

An examination of the issues surrounding partnerships for both different sex and same sex couples clearly indicates that the law is not coping with the diversity within our society. The Greens hope that the Ministry of Justice will continue the process begun with this discussion paper by examining the whole area of partnership law.

The path Parliament should follow in the matter of same sex couples is both clear and urgent. We intend collaborating closely with members of other political parties who think similarly to us on this matter.

Richard Davies Co-ordinator of the Rainbow Greens on behalf of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.


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