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GAYNZ.com attack on 95% Opposed to Civil Unions

Press Release 20 September 2004

GAYNZ.com attack on 95% Opposed to Civil Union Bill

The massive and overwhelming opposition to the Civil Unions Bill, evidenced by 5,892 submissions (95.5% of the total of 6,170 submissions received by the select committee of parliament considering it), has been ignored by the media. Could it be that media commentators have been shocked into silence, having confidently assumed all along, quite incorrectly, that the vast majority of New Zealanders support the Bill? The Society believes that the media has completely underestimated the strength of opposition.

Faced with the crushing defeat in terms of lack of numerical support for the Civil Union Bill, the gay-rights movement has resorted to its standard method of calling into question the quality of the submissions received by the select committee from the Bill’s opponents.

In a desperate bid to defend and shore up its position, the website GayNZ.com states in a news article entitled “Quality of CU submissions questioned” posted on Sunday 19th September 2004:
“Questions have been raised about the quality and context of submissions made against the Civil Union Bill to the parliamentary select committee, following a press release by United Future which claims 95 per cent of the submissions have been against.

“Justice & Electoral Select Committee chairman Tim Barnett says the bulk of the submissions are form letters, and the opposition submissions are “almost without exception” from Christian and evangelical sources.

“Barnett says the content of these against submissions are “personal statements from people who will be unaffected by civil union but (mistakenly in my view) believe that giving a legal status to the relationship of two adults committed to each other will have a wider and more harmful effect on society.”

See: http://www.gaynz.com/news/default.asp?dismode=article&artid=1795

Of course all 278 submissions received by the select committee in favour of the Bill are almost without exception QUALITY submissions!! Unlike those from “Christian and evangelical sources” which are supposedly written by those unaffected by civil union, submissions from all Civil Union Bill supporters are objective, and could not possibly constitute mere “personal statements” infected by personal beliefs or philosophies or sexual life-style choice agendas!

The Society is not at all surprised that a mere 278 submissions (4.5% of the total) were received from members of the public supporting the Civil Union Bill, despite the massive and lengthy campaign waged by the gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual community (GLTB) to encourage its ‘members’ and supporters to make submissions. The number is actually less than 278 as a number of “gays” made more than one submission. For example, a lesbian-activist Presbyterian Minister, Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, and homosexuals John Jolliffe and Des Smith, made about three submissions each on behalf of various groups.

The Society submits that the tiny minority driving this Bill (homosexuals and lesbians) plus their supporters constitute less than 4.5% of the population. The repeated claims the GLTB community make, that tens of thousands of heterosexual persons living in de facto relationships support the Civil Union Bill and its accompanying Bill, appear to be fanciful. Such claims have not been supported by any data and certainly cannot be based on the numbers of submissions to the select committee.

Despite the widely touted claims by gays that 1 in 10 persons in the general adult population are gay, their number in this country is probably less than 2%. The Lavender Islands Survey launched in April this year that received significant nation-wide media publicity, only managed to attract responses from 2,276 individuals (45.3% women and 54.5% men), despite the fact that respondents could remain anonymous. Dr Mark Henrickson, a senior lecturer in social work at the Albany campus of Massey University, described the study as “the most extensive study of gay and lesbian community” ever carried out in New Zealand.

Same sex couples make up only 0.65 percent of all couples in New Zealand based on data supplied by the NZ Statistics Department (see appendix below). It appears to be a tiny group from within this tiny minority, who are the driving force behind the bid to get support for the Civil Union Bill.

The widely-publicised On-line Petition to Members of the New Zealand House of Representatives written by Conor Roberts, supporting the Civil Union Bill, has attracted only 2,648 names.

See: http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?civil

One thing is certain: the sheer numbers of submissions prove that this Bill and its companion bill, the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, are highly controversial. The 10,000-plus “Enough is Enough” protest organised by the Destiny Party to uphold “family values” and oppose the Bill, highlighted the strength of the opposition. Only a few hundred supporters of the Bill turned out on the day and only about 15 from the gay community turned out at their widely advertised media conference staged at St Andrews-on-the-Terrace following the protest, to advertise the ‘strength’ of their lobby group.

Mr Tim Barnett, the openly gay MP who chairs the Justice and Electoral Committee that is hearing submissions on the Civil Unions Bill and the accompanying Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, told Parliament on Tuesday 14 September 2004 that the committee had received 6,170 submissions. Mr Murray Smith, Justice spokesperson for the United Future Party and a member of the committee, issued a press release later that day on behalf of his party, stating that the committee had received 5892 (95%) submissions opposed to the Civil Union Bill. He noted that “the vast majority” of submitters also opposed the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill. “The key theme of the submissions was that marriage between a man and a woman was a fundamental institution in New Zealand society that needed to be protected and nurtured, but that the Bill undermined marriage and would significantly weaken our society.”

See: Press Release: United Future NZ Party, “95 percent of submitters oppose Civil Unions”
14th September 2004, 5:08 p.m.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/archive/scoop/stories/53/f8/200409141708.d4071ba8.html

Appendix

From the NZ Statistics Department (2001 census results):

Couples with children: (os = opposite sex couples; ss = same sex couples)
406,437 os couples
1,356 ss couples

Couples without children:
373,191 os couples
3,714 ss couples

Totalling these numbers up:
779,628 os couples
5070 ss couples

If you work out the percentages, same sex couples make up 0.65 percent of all couples in NZ.

The numbers from the Statistics Department are quoted below. The original paper is on the web at:

http://www.stats.govt.nz/domino/external/pasfull/pasfull.nsf/0/4c2567ef00247c6acc256cc100707bd2/%24FILE/Families%20&%20Households.pdf
Quoted from the document...

Couples with Children:

The number of couple with children families has decreased by 4.4 percent since the 1996 Census. At the time of the 2001 Census there were 407,793 couples with children, down from 426,567 in 1996. Of the 407,793 couples with children, there were 1,356 in which the couple was same sex. The majority (70.8 percent) of same-sex couples with children were female couples.

Couples without Children:

Couples without children have increased by 6.3 percent since 1996. At the time of the 2001 Census there were 376,905 couples without children, up from 354,588 in 1996. Same-sex couples made up 1.0 percent of couples without children. There were 1,878 female couples without children and 1,836 male couples without children.

ENDS


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