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Bill opponents should stop being civil, come clean

21 June 2004

Bill opponents should stop being civil and come clean

Green MP Metiria Turei says critics of the Civil Union Bill should "stop the spin" and come clean on why they are opposing it.

"All this talk about upholding the sanctity of marriage is just a PC way of masking rampant homophobia," said Ms Turei, the Greens' Associate Spokesperson on Justice.

"Ordinary New Zealanders live in a wide range of personal circumstances, so fundamentalists clearly do not speak for anyone other than their own deluded constituency.

"The really sad aspect of the attacks against this Bill is that they give religion a bad name. Compassionate Christians and other believers do not deserve to be tarred with the brush of bigotry," said Ms Turei.

While Ms Turei has received much support for the Green position from members of the public, she says she has also received some extremely nasty and threatening letters from opponents of the Bill.

"I urge all supporters of the Civil Union Bill to be tolerant. We should love the fundamentalists, but hate their fundamentalism," she said.

Although the Bill is the subject of a conscience vote, the nine Green MPs will all vote in favour when it comes before the House later this week because the measures it takes are party policy.

"Our policy positions are always guided by the principle that everyone must receive equal treatment before the law.

"That means that all groups should have the same rights, so same-sex couple are entitled to the same recognition of their human rights as gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.

"The separation of church and state dictates that all arguments based on claims that marriage is of divine origin cannot enter the legal equations.

"Everyone agrees children do best in an environment where parents, biological or not, are in a stable, committed relationship. The Civil Union Bill will make such arrangements more likely by giving all their various forms recognition," said Ms Turei.


ENDS

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