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Maxim Institute real issues: No. 111, 20 MAY 2004

Maxim Institute

real issues: No. 111, 20 MAY 2004


Marriage: an enduring institution

* Weird news - what's next?

* Manipulating Language: 'Partner'

* Change Agent Workshop - Auckland

Marriage: an enduring institution

There's some good news on the marriage front. Statistics NZ says last year saw the greatest number of marriages since 1991 -- 21,420. That was 3.5 percent more than the previous year. The marriage rate has stayed stable for several years now, at 14 out of every 1,000 eligible not-marrieds. The figure is inflated somewhat, though, because more than one in three marriages are between people who have been married before.

While it's a positive indicator of the enduring preference for marriage (according to the 2001 Census, for every 100 people in a relationship, 80 were married), we have still fallen a long way since the peak in 1971, when 45 out of every 1,000 married.

Balanced against this are some sobering figures which show that between June 2001 and June 2003, sole-parent families with dependent children outgrew two-parent families, not only in percentage terms but in absolute numbers.

Lindsay Mitchell, a petitioner for a review of the DPB, says that according to the New Zealand Income Survey, produced by Statistics NZ, single-parent families grew by 12,600 or nine percent. Two-parent families grew by only 11,000 or three percent. "This trend is very bad news," says Mitchell. "When marriages fail or parents reject each other it is a cost to all of society. Children from one-parent families are more likely to live in poverty or be on welfare. They are more likely to exhibit negative outcomes."

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=111.1

Weird news - what's next?

Opponents of same-sex "marriage" claim that if it is legalised, it will pave the way for other sexual taboos to fall. This week retired Wellington history professor Peter Munz took his chance to ask MPs on a select committee considering the Crimes Amendment Bill to repeal the ban on incest on the grounds that it is an outdated social taboo. He argued that the risk that interbreeding would cause genetically damaged children was no reason for a legal ban. In a culture that has exalted consent as the ultimate sexual ethic, why would we be surprised? What will be next: the claim that consensual incest is a human right and to oppose it is 'familial' discrimination?

Also this week, the International Olympic Committee announced that transsexual athletes can compete at the Athens Games in August. Is this a stunning victory against 'genderism'? Or is it simply political correctness denying reality? There are rules for male-to-female athletes (and vice versa): you must have had genital surgery, completed hormonal therapy and obtained legal recognition of your new sex.

Gender testing at the Olympics has had a checkered history. It was introduced for the 1966 Games, following constant speculation in the early 60s about the real sex of Irina and Tamara Press - nicknamed the "Press Brothers" because of their masculine build and features - who won numerous track and field gold medals for Russia. It was finally dropped before the Sydney Olympics on the grounds that there was no clear biological or genetic method of determining sex. Nonetheless, the fact remains that a trans-sexual athlete who has been a man is not transformed into a woman - he remains a manipulated man.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=111.2

Manipulating Language: "Partner"

Like "gender", which we explored last week, "partner" is now being written into legislation. Traditionally, "partner" described a business relationship. In the 1980s the polite term "partner" began to be applied to people in homosexual relationships. This term has now spread to heterosexual couples, either married or in de facto relationships.

The replacement of "husband", "wife" and "spouse" by "partner" shows how opposite-sex relationships have been reduced by a common linguistic denominator to make them equivalent to homosexual relationships. Now the state, through the Civil Union and Omnibus Bills, wants to regularise and enforce the equivalence of all these relationships. Society is being reshaped through the rejection and replacement of former categories of meaning.

The growing use of "partner" has had a huge effect. It has helped cement the changes in morality and erosion of the distinct nature of marriage. The linguistic myth of equality has been transformed into legal reality - a victory for the sexual revolutionaries.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=111.3

Change Agents Workshop - Auckland

Come and be equipped with practical tools to make a positive difference in your community on issues such as Civil Unions (same-sex marriage), Education and Prostitution, at the Auckland Change Agent workshop. WHEN: Saturday 15 June, 10am - 1 pm. WHERE: Maxim Institute, 49 Cape Horn Rd, Hillsborough, Auckland. Cost $10 includes Change Agent pack and refreshments. To register email: workshop@maxim.org.nz or phone Amanda on 09 627 3261

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Winston Churchill

There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.


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