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"Civil Relationships" will expose dishonesty - ACT

"Civil Relationships" will expose dishonesty on gay marriage

ACT MP Stephen Franks today said he will support Richard Worth's amendments to the Civil Union Bill.

"The Government has constantly pretended that civil union is not gay marriage. I've looked at Mr Worth's amendments and they do everything that the Government said they wanted to do for people in relationships, with less discrimination and less cost. As an added advantage, they don't mimic the aspects of marriage that flow only from its long religious and cultural history, so everyone should be able to support them.

"Mr Worth's amendments improve the Bill. For example, they cover something that Labour talked about to gain uninformed support, but did not deal with in their law - next of kin hospital visiting rights.

"Labour claimed they did not want the law to discriminate among stable, committed long term relationships. They told stories of people unable to access the benefits of next of kin status to deal with bodies, of inheritance complications and of the Government's interest in respecting and supporting a diversity of loving relationships. When we pointed out that the Civil Union Bill had no core, that it prescribed a complicated procedure for registering promises without the slightest indication of what the promises must contain, they said it would be discriminatory to be prescriptive.

"Labour claimed their Bill had nothing to do with sexuality, but could not explain why any two kin living together could not register, including aunt and niece, stepfather and grandson etc. They desperately maintained the fiction that civil union was not gay marriage.

"If the Government does not support the amendments, they will reveal their true intention is not helping people who share their lives - instead it is solely gay marriage.

"From the start I pointed out that the Civil Union Bill is simply a copy of the Marriage Act with the word `marriage' twinked out and replaced by `civil union'. Mr Worth's amendments make the Civil Union Bill honest.

"Since I came to Parliament I have tried to vote only for law that means what it says and says what it means. I've tried to oppose the misuse of legislation for political slogan purposes. That is why I support this amendment," Mr Franks said.

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