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Referendum an inappropriate and dangerous preceden


7 December 2004

Referendum an inappropriate and dangerous precedent

“With a clear majority of the public supporting civil unions, a referendum on the Civil Union Bill would be both costly and unnecessary,” said Regan Andrew, spokesperson for the Campaign for Civil Unions today.

“Polls have consistently proven that the New Zealand public support the Civil Union Bill. Also, two parties (including Labour) had civil unions as policy in their manifestos’ at the last election and another’s supported the removal “oppressive discrimination” against same-sex couples. The combination of these two factors provides a clear mandate for MPs to support the Civil Union Bill – without having to waste $10 million on a referendum,” said Andrew.

Scientifically conducted surveys have shown that a clear majority of the public support the Civil Union Bill. For example: An AC Neilsen poll late last year indicated public support at 68% for same-sex relationships registration. A One News/Colmar Brunton Poll on Civil Unions in April 2004 indicates strong public support for Civil Unions.

Only 34% thought the bill should not be made into law in any form. 46% thought that the bill should be made into law and should apply to all couples including same sex couples. In September 2004 a NZ Herald Poll put support for Civil Unions at 56%. A 3 News Poll in June 2004 indicated over 50% support for the Civil Union Bill. Another TV3 poll released this week showed that even when civil unions are presented as same-sex marriage, more people support the Bill than oppose it. Andrew went on to say: “it is inappropriate for human rights issues to be decided by referendum - particularly considering that the rights in question are vehemently contested by another minority.

“The Civil Union Bill is a direct result of the Human Rights Act, which was passed in 1993 without a referendum. If a precedent is set for a referendum on human rights, what will be next - a referendum on the right to freedom of religious belief?

“The new backers of the referendum amendment are cowering to the lobbying efforts of an extreme faction in our society, which is being spearheaded by the Destiny Church.

“Sometimes, MPs need to make difficult decisions – after all, that is their job. Our MPs should show their leadership qualities this week and vote against the referendum ploy,” concluded Andrew.

ENDS

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