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Speech: John Banks on Voting For Marriage Amendment Bill

Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill - Third Reading

Speech by ACT Leader John Banks

Wednesday, April 17 2013

The privilege we have to be in this House is counter-balanced by the need to stand up and be counted.

I am one of a handful of Members that was here in the early days of these debates.

After three decades, and ten Parliaments, I have had time to reflect.

To reflect on what I said, and what I did.

If I knew then, what I have learned since, I would have acted differently.

I see this as a debate more about human rights, predicated on the basis that we are all entitled to live our lives to the fullest extent of human happiness, while respecting the rights and beliefs of others.

I believe New Zealanders should be free to pursue their own happiness.

ACT’s principles of freedom and choice go to the heart of this issue.

Freedom gives each individual the right to determine, for themselves, their happiness for their life.

I want my political career and public service to recognise the value and potential of each New Zealander.

My gay friends know that my vote is not needed to pass this bill. But they tell me that my support is important to them.

I received a text from a friend who heard that this bill had my support.

The text said, “Thanks Banksie. This Bill won’t have any impact on your marriage, but it will mean a great deal to me and my relationship.”

I think that sums up the argument well.

I know many people have strong views on this issue.

I hope my comments tonight give an insight for my friends who don’t support this bill and can’t understand why I have chartered this course.

I respect their right to hold their views and I uphold their right to practice their faith. In turn, I expect those people to let me hold to my own faith.

When making this decision I had to ask myself:

Will New Zealanders have more freedoms as a result of this bill? Yes.

Will freedom of religion be preserved? Yes.

Will anyone’s freedoms be taken away by this bill? No.

Would the God that I believe in think any less of me for voting for this bill? No.

That’s why I support this legislation.


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