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Newman Online: The Government's Gay Agenda?

Newman Online
Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP

The Government's Gay Agenda?

This week Newman On Line looks at the Labour Government's gay agenda and asks is this what New Zealanders really want.

Last week, former Labour Minister John Tamihere revealed in an interview with Investigate Magazine that homosexuals, unionists, feminists and Maori exerted undue influence in the Labour Party Caucus and as a result, in the way the country is being run.

This week I thought I would share with you information that I have received through the Official Information Act regarding Labour's gay agenda so you can judge for yourselves whether you think this government is on the right track.

The Ministry of Social Development Policy and Knowledge Group have undertaken a programme of work – in conjunction with Labour MP Tim Barnett – on issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, faáfafine, takatapui, and intersex (GLBT) people. This GLBT policy work programme aims to make progress on overcoming the barriers, which prevent these people from participating in the social and economic life of their communities.

In the document, the Ministry of Social Development claims that the number of GLBT people in the population varies from 3 to 10 percent. That is at odds with Census data that shows that in 2001 only 10,000 people, or 0.3 percent of the adult population categorised themselves as same-sex.

In response to this discrepancy, the Ministry of Social Development GLBT Policy Work Programme for 2004/2005 has suggested that questions on sexual orientation be included in the 2006 Census, presumably in order to boost the numbers. However, the idea appears to have been rejected by Statistics New Zealand on the basis of their focus group research, which indicated concerns about the "public acceptability of this topic".

While questions on sexual orientation will not be included in the next census, Statistics New Zealand have decided to incorporate a more specifically worded question on the nature of living relationships – whether a person shares their residence with their "legal husband or wife, opposite-sex partner or de facto boyfriend or girlfriend, or same-sex partner or de facto boyfriend or girlfriend".

According to the OIA: "Sexual orientation is one of 13 prohibited grounds of discrimination on the Human Rights Act 1993 and the Human Rights Amendment 2002 requires government actions to be consistent with the anti-discrimination provisions in this act. The other prohibited grounds for discrimination are sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status and family status".

The document explains that: "MSD's aim is to ensure that sexual orientation is accepted as a routine demographic question in the same way as ethnicity, religion and marital status".

As a result, such questions have already been included in the Ministry of Health's Health Behaviour Surveys, which asked respondents to identify whether they were living in "partnerships (living with partner now or previously, whether married to that partner)" and to answer a question about their "sexuality (heterosexual, gay man, lesbian, bisexual, others, and options to refuse to answer and 'don't know')".

Further, such questions are in the process of being included in the State Services Commission's Career Progression and Development Survey with a view to becoming major EEO - Equal Employment Opportunity - concerns:

"What is your sexual orientation?

o Heterosexual (straight)

o Homosexual (gay/lesbian)

o Bisexual

o Prefer not to answer

All of this points to a time when the public service is going to be forced to embrace social engineering and political correctness to such an extent that they will be required to report on not only how many women and Maori they employ, but also on how many lesbians, gays and bisexuals. The next step, of course will be employment claims against employers who fail to employ an 'appropriate' quota of homosexuals.

As the OIA reveals, a major objective of the whole Ministry of Social Development work programme is that of "encouraging positive media portrayal of GLBT people and issues" and to "monitor and influence media portrayal of GLBT people and issues".

In layman's terms, this OIA exposes the process of 'normalisation' of alternative sexual orientations that is currently taking place with the blessing of the Labour Party. It describes how there has been a major initiative to procure funding for 'gender reassignment surgery' – an announcement of $170,000 for sex change operations was announced earlier this month – and it also explains the multi-faceted work that is taking place regarding the sexual identity of young people. In particular it discusses the results of a survey of almost 9699 young people aged 13 years and over which showed that: "Approximately 8 percent of girls and 7.7 percent of boys said they were either attracted to the same sex, both sexes, were not sure, or neither".

This OIA raises questions about the appropriateness of government delving into matters, which surely should be considered intensely private.

It also provides an insight - to some extent - into concerns raised by a constituent who has just contacted me regarding a government funded camp that he has recently seen advertised in the newspaper. The camp, which will be run over Anzac weekend, is for homosexual and transgender youth aged 16 to 25, and for those who are "not sure about their sexual identity".

He worries that such camps could become government funded recruiting grounds for those with alternative sexual agendas. What is your view?


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