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Bill goes 95% of way to same-sex marriage

Monday, 29 November 2004

Smith: Civil Unions Bill goes 95% of way to same-sex marriage

The Civil Unions Bill goes 95 percent of the way to allowing same-sex marriages, and if it passes it would just be a matter of time until that was allowed, United Future's Murray Smith said in furnishing a minority report on the Bill which was reported back to Parliament today.

"And that is one of the great shames of this whole matter - it is an incredibly dishonest piece of legislation. It is about slipping something passed the public while pretending that it is something else.

"The lack of honesty from Government advocates of this Bill has been appalling and shows that they will push their social agenda at any cost and with no regard for the views of most New Zealanders," Mr Smith, a member of the justice and electoral select committee that considered the Bill, said.

He predicted that if the Bill passes, a complaint would be lodged with the Human Rights Commission within months, leading to a declaration that the new law is inconsistent with the right to freedom from discrimination under the Bill of Rights.

"Then a Labour government would moves as quickly as possible to admit that there is discrimination and argue concerns about potential proceedings from international bodies, New Zealand's human rights reputation, etc., and amend the law by simply removing the words 'and who are otherwise eligible to marry each other'.

"And there we would have it - same-sex marriage, with New Zealanders never having had it put honestly before them," Mr Smith said.

"Call that anything you like, but don't call it democracy."

ENDS

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