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Chris Carter’s Absurd Claim

Press Release 19 October

Chris Carter’s Absurd Claim: Gay Civil Unions are Civil Rights

The Hon. Chris Carter, the self-proclaimed practising homosexual Cabinet Minister promoting the Civil Union Bill, delivered the keynote speech on Saturday 16th October 2004 to the annual conference of the NZ Rationalists and Humanists Association which had as its theme “The Tolerant Society and its Enemies”. The Association felt that the theme was appropriate, given “the spectacle of displays of religious and political intolerance” by certain groups and individuals over recent months.

One wonders whether the association had in mind here the recent television spectacle of the openly transsexual MP Georgina Beyer provocatively and emotively haranguing supporters of the “Enough is Enough” protest in the grounds of parliament. Perhaps it also had in mind the spectacle of “gay activists” in the grounds of parliament unsuccessfully attempting to sabotage the sound system set up by the Destiny NZ Party supporters and their shouting obscenities and waving hateful placards at the speakers and the audience. Maybe it had in mind the accusations of “homophobia” levelled by Chris Carter at members of an invited studio audience who expressed views that differed from his own, during a televised forum broadcast by TV One that explored the diverse nature of the New Zealand family.

Ironically, Mr Carter demonstrated at the RHA conference how unqualified he is to identify those who are “enemies” of a tolerant society. He informed the conference that there’s no place for fundamentalism and intolerance in New Zealand. He deliberately used the pejorative terms “fundamentalist and “homophobic” in order to try and stigmatise all those who do not support the Civil Union Bill and the Relationship (Statutory References) Bill which he is promoting.
He claimed that opposition to civil unions came from people who “can’t stomach the idea of gay and lesbian people having the same civil rights as them.” In other words he asserted that practising homosexuals like himself and his long-term partner of 29 years – school principal Mr Peter Kaiser - are unjustly discriminated against by being denied their “civil rights” by the state: ‘rights’ that are claimed to include state recognition (in law) of their homosexual partnership and ‘rights’ to all the benefits and privileges afforded by the state to heterosexual couples who choose to get married (with or without a religious dimension).

Leaving aside the flawed logic that underlies Mr Carter’s claims, the false premise that same-sex partnerships are functionally equivalent to marriage, his understanding of what constitutes “civil rights” is quite erroneous. Many in the gay community oppose the Civil Union Bill because they see it as discriminatory in that its still denies them access to marriage and adoption rights. Is Mr Carter accusing these people too, along with intolerant “fundamentalists”, of being unable to “stomach the idea of gay and lesbian people having the same civil rights as them”?

Who says same-sex partners have a “civil right” to state recognition by way of a legally registered partnership (civil union)? Homosexual activists such as Mr Carter have over-reached themselves in trying to assert that state recognition of his homosexual partnership constitutes his and his homosexual partner’s “civil right”. Genuine civil rights include such matters as freedom of expression (within certain boundaries) and access to justice. They are based on the principle that all human beings, regardless of their immutable characteristics (e.g. race, skin colour, gender etc.) must be safeguarded from any deprivation by the state, from basic human needs. So-called “sexual orientation” is not an immutable characteristic that has been recognised in law as forming the basis of a specially protected class of individuals when it comes to civil rights.

The 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Act in the US did acknowledge race as constituting the basis of defining in law a legitimate “class of persons” worthy of special protection, because of demonstrable and proven economic deprivation etc. that can apply with respect to such persons. However, homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders have sought to piggy-back on the gains of the genuine civil rights movements abroad and try and present themselves as “victims of unjust discrimination”, thereby establishing their ‘worthiness’ to receive special protections and ‘rights’ under the law. By doing so they denigrate the genuine gains made by the civil rights movement, many of whose leaders have condemned this “gay” take-over bid [ref. 1 below]. “Gay activists” do recognise the concept of just discrimination but refuse to accept that it applies in the case where they are prevented in law from gaining state recognition of their partnerships.

At the weekend conference Mr Carter failed to explain why those in same-sex partnerships (couples) have a “civil right” to be treated in law as the functional equivalents of married heterosexual couples. All genuine civil rights are universally recognised in Western democracies as required to be open to all. Homosexuals have no civil right to marriage because marriage is an exclusive and unique relationship between a man and a woman, by definition open only to two individuals of the opposite sex (as ruled on in the Court of Appeal case Quilter v Attorney General [1998]) [For more see Ref. 2]. Because of its unique character the state must treat married individuals differently, in a limited number of respects, from those who choose not to enter into such a committed heterosexual partnership.

Homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons are in effect demanding special rights when they demand the right to a civil union and/or homosexual marriage based on “civil rights” arguments. This is because the group they represent is not a category of persons based on immutable characteristics and does not constitute a “class of persons” as defined for example in he 1964 and 1965 US Civil Rights Acts.

To argue at all convincingly about “gay rights” being human rights the case has to be established that not only are they an oppressed and discriminated against category but their membership of that category is not optional. If one destroys the “biology is destiny-oppression link” argument as it relates to the origins of homosexuality, you logically destroy the human rights claim by “gays”. Lesbianism is the chink in the ‘defence’ gays put up, their feet of clay, the hole in the dyke. Significant numbers of practising lesbians have publicly affirmed that their sexual preference is a chic lifestyle choice, when in reality it is a sexual disorder.

There are no definitive scientific proofs that homosexuality is caused genetically. On the contrary, while there is some evidence that genetic factors do influence male homosexuality, the evidence points to factors such as cultural ones and early childhood experiences, are part of the mix related to a state of mind and body – considered by many as a functional sexual disorder. Homosexuals make a lifestyle choice when they actively participate in homosexual sex acts. Many “gays” are obsessed with trying to find the elusive gay gene or any evidence that absents choice.

Mr Carter went on at the conference to say that he doesn’t believe these people who oppose the Civil Union Bill are in the majority. “We are an adventuresome and liberal country, the Sweden of the South Seas,” he said, noting the recent positive NZ Herald survey, [ref. 3], which showed a majority of Joe & Jane Public in favour of civil unions, proving “the silent majority of New Zealanders are liberals”.

According to the 2001 NZ Census data, of the 3,468,813 total responses analysed on the Religious Affiliation Table (www.stats.govt.nz) 58.9% identified themselves as “Christian” (and this does not include the 63,597 who described themselves specifically as “Maori Christian”). The total number who identified themselves as “Christian” is more than twice that of the number of those who identified themselves as having “no religion” and fifty times greater than the next category. Historic Christianity (e.g. Westminster confession) has always considered marriage as a publicly declared life-long monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. One can reasonably conclude that these conservative values are held by the majority of New Zealanders. The “silent majority of New Zealanders” are not “liberals” as Mr Carter claims.

Mr Carter avoided mentioning that of the 6,170 written submissions to the Justice and Electoral Committee considering the Civil Union Bill, 95.5% (5892) were opposed to it. The vast majority was also opposed to its companion bill. This raises the question: If there really is such a huge majority out there in favour of the Civil Union Bill, why did the select committee only receive 278 submissions in its favour, despite months of active crusading by “gay” activists calling on fellow “gays” to step forward and write a submission to the 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 less than 2% of all those 15 years of age and over (based on 2001 NZ Census data). 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.

Perhaps there are actually so few individuals involved in same-sex partnerships, that the Bill’s support is actually paper-thin. Massive efforts by “gay activists” using on-line petitions and other methods have failed to smoke out anywhere near the numbers of persons willing to publicly support it, claimed to exist by the bill’s supporters.

The fact that a highly ranked Labour Cabinet Minister would actively proselytise for new civil union believers among the ranks of the NZ Rationalists and Humanists Association, demonstrates how desperate he is to advance this bill, one in which he and his practising homosexual partner have a decidedly vested interest. Given that the Association has been actively promoting the Civil Union Bill for much of the year and resorted to ad hominem attacks on those who oppose it, one can conclude that Mr Carter must have felt very much at home at the Association’s ‘religious’ convention. Celebrating common ground with intolerant humanists and atheists committed to attacking “fundamentalism” must have been a heart-warming exercise for Mr Carter – a demonstration of unity and “gay” pride. References

[1] For more background on these matters see the transcript of the film Gayrights/Special Rights: Inside the Homosexual Agenda produced by Jeremiah Films. http://www.christian-apologetics.org/html/Gay_rights_Special_rights.htm

[2] See: “Does the Civil Union Bill Legalise Marriage?” SPCS Press Release. Wednesday, 30 June 2004. http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PO0406/S00298.htm

In Quilter v Attorney General [1998] 1 NZLR 523 the Court of Appeal held that the Marriage Act 1955 applies to marriage between a man and a woman only and that this does not constitute discrimination. The Human Rights Amendment Act 2001 requires that government activities be subject to the anti-discrimination standards set out in section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and section 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993. Prohibited grounds of discrimination include sexual orientation.”

In the Quilter case, the court was faced with a challenge to the denial of marriage licenses to three lesbian couples. The couples, relying on New Zealand’s gender-neutral marriage law, argued that the Bill of Rights Act which forbids discrimination on the grounds enunciated in the Human Rights Act of 1993 (which includes both sex and sexual orientation). The case was unanimously dismissed. For a good summary of Quilter v. Attorney General CA 200/96 (N.Z. CT. APP. 1997) see: http://www.marriagewatch.org/cases/quilter.htm

[3] The report included a Herald-DigiPoll survey of 750 people, which found that New Zealanders broadly approved of the Government's plans to recognise gay relationships as civil unions but not as marriage. A majority of those polled agreed with the civil union plan (by 56 per cent to 39 per cent) but disagreed with the idea of gay marriage by almost the same margin (54 per cent to 40 per cent). Reporters found a similar range of views when they talked to 60 people on the streets. Some people held strong opinions for or against. Others were happy to see the law change but did not see it as controversial. For more details see: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?



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