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Civil Union Bill Rubbished by Marilyn Waring

Press Release 25 November

Civil Union Bill Rubbished by Marilyn Waring

“I Am Completely Opposed To Civil Unions”

Professor Marilyn Waring, a leading public policy expert with special interests in human rights issues and “probably one of New Zealand’s best known lesbian women,” has denounced suggestions that civil unions have anything to offer the “gay” community in terms of gaining “human rights”. Her submission to the Justice and Electoral Committee on the Civil Union Bill and its companion the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, that is now publicly available in the parliamentary library, slams the very concept of civil unions.

Ms Waring argues that proponents of the Civil Union Bill are utterly deluded in thinking that civil unions secure any form of “human right”. If she is correct, and we believe she most definitely is, this means that the repeated claims by practising homosexuals and lesbians that they are unlawfully discriminated against under current law because it does not allow them to have their same-sex relationships recognised in law in the form of a civil union; is seriously flawed. Their claim rests in large part on the spurious propositions that homosexuals and lesbians constitute a genuine “class of persons” based on an inherent characteristic (e.g. race or skin colour) and that relationship recognition by the state in terms of same-sex coupling is a civil right they are being unjustly denied based on this inherent characteristic. Neither of these propositions have any basis in law, logic or common sense.

On 21October 2004 the now defunct “Queer Nation”, TV2’s (Adults Only) programme, the one that “sizzles with sex appeal” according to its promo as it “explores the issues in New Zealand's gay and lesbian community”, featured a punishing attack on the concept of civil unions. The attack was delivered by 52 year-old Professor Marilyn Waring, who was introduced as “probably one of New Zealand’s best known lesbian women”.

In what was described as “a frank interview” conducted by Queer Nation presenter Andrew Whiteside. Ms Waring denounced the shallow and misguided thinking that underlies the Civil Union Bill and its companion bill, the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, stating:

“I don’t want to live in a country that thinks that separate but equal has anything to do with human rights so I am completely opposed to civil unions.”

It is noteworthy that 95.5% of the 6,170 written submissions received by the Justice and Electoral Committee on the Civil Union Bill opposed the Bill, and Ms Waring, a lesbian, was one of them. Interestingly, she was not accused of being a “homophobe” or “homophobic” by the “gay” community for opposing the Bills, an accusation regularly levelled at everyone else outside the “gay”community who opposed the Bill.

The “Queer Nation” interview explored Waring’s “political past” noting:

“She’s been a farmer, a Member of Parliament, a highly respected author and is known internationally for her work in human rights and political economics. She’s on the Board of the Reserve Bank. She is Professor of Public Policy at Massey University at Albany.”

Whiteside said that “it was while she was still in parliament that Marilyn was ‘outed’ as a lesbian”. Apparently Ms Waring considers herself well-qualified to detect any lack of “social justice” in proposed legislation dealing with “gay” issues: “…if you have any kinds of inklings of social justice you start to smell it, see it, taste it, really quickly ...” she said categorically.

Whiteside informed viewers that Ms Waring “has always had a strong focus in her life on Human Rights. Being lesbian has also made her focus on Queer Human Rights.” He explained that “she stirred the pot recently when she made a submission on the Civil Union Bill.”

Waring explained:

“Well I made a submission opposing the Civil Union legislation. Marriage is a civil and political right and civil and political rights are not negotiable. You can’t have half a right. If it’s a civil or political right in international law it’s immediately enforceable. It’s not something that progressively – you know – as it depends on what you can politically get away with you might get there. So my submission is focused very much on the fact that civil union was a separate but equal approach and we’ve seen separate but equal approaches throughout history. Apartheid is a separate but equal approach. Segregation in the American south was a separate but equal approach. The internment of Japanese people in World War 2 was a separate but equal approach and gay people wearing pink triangles being taken away before even Jews were taken away, was a separate but equal approach. And I don’t want to live in a country that thinks that separate but equal has anything to do with human rights SO I AM COMPLETELY OPPOSED TO CIVIL UNIONS.


“Many of the people campaigning for civil rights in New Zealand don’t believe that marriage is politically possible here. But Marilyn says we only need to look to Canada for the right approach.”

Waring: They really understood in terms of the way in which their jurisdiction operates that they had to wait until they knew they could win. And they knew they could win in three provinces at the same time. And I just think that it’s crazy to be impetuous and to have a foundation of bad law. And to have any New Zealanders under any misapprehension that gays have paternalistically been given a human right when they have been subject to another discrimination treatment is anathema to me. Whiteside:

“Marilyn believes the Canadian marriage cases will provide case law for any future court challenges to New Zealand marriage law and while she sees a continued future for herself and the advancement of Human Rights she’s also notes that she’s changing.

Marilyn’s closing comments dealt with her new found interests away from rural life…

“I’m mellowing as well you know….” Source: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/PO0410/S00234.htm For further references to Marilyn Waring’s views see………. [1] “Civil union bill doesn't go far enough for gay ex-MP” by Jon Stokes.
NZ Herald 24.08.2004. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?thesection=news&thesubsection=&storyID=3586331&reportID=1162644 [2] “Who's Counting: Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics” Video (1995: National Film Board of Canada).

Described as: “-- despite its rather dry title -- is a fascinating documentary about this New Zealand activist and lesbian.” FOR REFERENCES ON “GAY” ‘MARRIAGE’ SEE: [1] 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


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