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Maxim Institute - real issues - No. 117


Maxim Institute - real issues - No. 117

Contents: --------- * Relationships Bill neutralises marriage

* Complaints don't support discrimination claim

* Care of Children Bill 'dumbing down' parenting

* Who controls home-schooling?

* Evidence out now

* Hamilton public meeting

Relationships Bill neutralises marriage

On Tuesday the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill passed its first reading by 77 votes 42. It will provide recognition of civil unions in existing legislation changing around 1,000 clauses in 125 Acts to remove any distinction in how the law treats all relationships. The Government's stated objective is to have neutral laws on relationships, so "the same legal rights and responsibilities will apply to married, de facto (whether opposite or same sex), and civil union relationships."

The clear principle behind it is to treat all relationships the same as marriage legally. In the process marriage is undermined if the rights and responsibilities of marriage are conferred on all couples. No longer will marriage have any special legal status different from other relationships.

To enforce equality is to ignore the real differences between relationships and the choices that couples have made. Couples who have chosen to avoid the 'rights and responsibilities' of marriage will have these imposed on them anyway. There is further irony in that it does not matter whether couples are married or 'civil unioned', the same rights and responsibilities apply to all regardless.

In an attempt to quickly progress the Civil Union and Relationships Bills and minimise any political repercussions, just five weeks have been allowed for public submissions which are due on Friday 6 August. These Bills have been referred together to the Justice and Electoral select committee chaired by Labour MP Tim Barnett for consideration and report back. We encourage you to get more informed on them and to make a submission.

To find out how your MP voted visit: http://www.maxim.org.nz/cu/cuvote.php

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=117.1

Complaints don't support discrimination claim

The twin Civil Union and Relationships Bills are being promoted on the basis of removing 'unjustified discrimination'. Instead they impose equality of all relationships, regardless of choices and the real differences between them. Does the claimed 'discrimination' against same-sex couples actually exist? Based on information from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) it appears not.

Yesterday Maxim received a copy of a response from the HRC to a series of questions about discrimination complaints put by David Lane on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Community Standards. The Commission says it has received just three complaints regarding the inability of same-sex couples to marry, while only five other complaints have been made about the legal recognition of same-sex relationships. These include one where the couple were denied next of kin status, and two about the inability of same-sex couples to adopt children. So despite the perception created by supporters of the legislation there have been very few actual complaints of discrimination.

One of the often-used examples of discrimination is the claimed inability of same-sex couples to be buried in the same plot next to their partner. No complaints have been received the HRC on this issue.

The minuscule number of complaints by same-sex couples suggests a significant gap between perception and reality. The law makes distinctions between relationships because they are different, so the burden of proof is on the Bills proponents to show why the law should now become 'relationship-neutral'. Taking a sledgehammer to marriage to address a few legal anomalies and complaints is not good law making.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=117.2

Care of Children Bill 'dumbing down' parenting

Labour and the Greens have stood out against the other four major Parliamentary parties and a large volume of public submissions in their report back to Parliament on the Care of Children Bill. The Bill has been sent back with some changes requested by the public, particularly in providing a greater openness in Family Court proceedings and a greater acknowledgement that parents should have primary responsibility for their children. However, many other concerns have not been met, and the Bill passed by only a 6-5 majority of the Select Committee.

In a minority view, the National MPs on the committee say the Bill is further eroding parental rights and responsibilities, while United Future says the Bill contains ideologically-based provisions that will do long-term harm to the family.

"Chief among concerns is the 'dumbing down' (if not outright denial) of the importance of children being nurtured with a stable, long-term, committed relationship involving their biological mother and father. Instead the Bill adopts an anything goes approach to the family where marriages and same-sex or opposite-sex de facto relationships are treated as if they produced the same outcomes for children when...they clearly do not," United Future says.

Another major concern is the refusal to change the law which allows a girl as young as 12 to have an abortion without her parents' consent. The Bill assumes a young child is generally competent to decide to have an abortion, and the report back says there is "no evidence of the provision being abused", despite a large number of submissions opposing the clause. The 'custody of children' is also deleted and replaced with 'day to day care'. The question is to whom do children then belong?

Maxim invites you to contact your MP before the Bill's 2nd reading to let them know your views.

The full select committee report is 183 pages to view it visit: www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/Content/SelectCommitteeReports/54BAR2.pdf

You will need the free Acrobat reader programme to view this report: you can download it from http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=117.3

Who controls home-schooling?

Many home-schoolers are deeply concerned about a new Ministry of Education form: Application for Exemption from Enrolment at a Registered School. There is a deep suspicion that the application form is not just a tweaking of a previous form as the Ministry of Education suggests. Rather, "it expresses a desire for more and more control over what parents actually do," says Craig Smith, National Director of the Home Education Foundation. Smith claims that the changes in the form are "significant", but Kay Phillips Head of Home Schooling in the Ministry of Education says the changes are "negligible". Certainly some of the new requirements appear to lie outside the requirements of the Education Act.

Up to the present there has been no requirement for home schoolers to teach the National Curriculum. However, the new application form is very specific on essential skills, teaching methods and assessment. Research shows that on average home-schoolers perform better academically than children who attend state schools. So why is the government tightening control?

There are around 6,000 home schooled children in New Zealand. Home school parents are paid $743 p.a. for their first child, $632 for the second and $521 for a third. Subsequent children get $372. Some might argue that because parents are getting government funds, the state should control what the children are taught. But all the home schoolers are getting is some of the money he/she and others have already paid in tax. Perhaps a tax rebate should replace the "handout". The water would be less muddy and the desire for control less intense.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=117.4

Evidence is out now

The latest edition of Maxim's quarterly Evidence journal is now out with a cover feature article 'Making Marriage Meaningless?' which looks at how the two Civil Union Bills will redefine relationships for future generations. Also inside are reports from the recent World Congress of Families including an interview with an MP from Latvia discussing her country's pro-family developments. Evidence is available in bookshops around the country or by becoming a Maxim partner. For more information on how to get Evidence visit: www.maxim.org.nz/main_pages/publication_page/publications.html#1

Hamilton public meeting - Maxim presents at Voice Waikato

Next Thursday 8 July Maxim speakers will present at the Voice Waikato meeting "Turning the Tide of Family Disintegration". The evening will address the Civil Union Bills, prostitution bylaws and referendum, the Care of Children Bill and Political Correctness, as well as how concerned citizens can effectively engage with legislative process. WHEN: Thursday 8 July, 7:00pm WHERE: Sunningdale RSA Hall, East St, Hamilton. Entry is free.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

There is above all, this supreme stamp of the barbarian; the sacrifice of the permanent to the temporary.

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