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Maxim Institute Supports Relationships Bill

Maxim Institute Supports Relationships (Statutory References) Bill

In a dramatic development in the debate over Civil Unions, the Maxim Institute gave its support to the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill which will accompany the Civil Union Bill that will go to its final vote today.

This startling development came in a Maxim Institute media release issued yesterday. In a somewhat patronising manner, the Institute's Managing Director, Greg Fleming, said that MPs were confused about the Civil Union Bill and then said that all the claims of its proponents can be dealt with in the Relationships Bill.

The Maxim Institute is a Christian Fundamentalist pressure group with established links to Fundamentalist groups in the USA. Oddly, it has the status of an educational charity, which gives it tax benefits, despite its obviously political nature. It has been the main organiser of opposition to the Civil Unions legislation.

Paul Litterick, Secretary of the NZ Association of Rationalists and Humanists, was surprised that the Maxim Institute should see the value of the Relationships Bill at this late stage: "Throughout the debate on Civil Unions, Maxim have opposed the Relationships Bill as much as its companion Civil Unions Bill. They went as far as to present a lengthy written submission to the Select Committee, opposing both bills, along with a supplementary submission which aimed to show that the Relationships Bill was unnecessary. Now they are saying that the Civil Unions Bill is unnecessary because the Relationships Bill will meet all the needs of its supporters".

The Maxim media release (which is printed in full below, for the benefit of sceptics) also repeats Maxim's support for Richard Worth's failed attempt to amend the Civil Unions Bill to extend its benefits to people who are not in intimate relationships, a baffling approach to legislation they oppose. Mr Litterick added, "Obviously they do not quite understand the Civil Unions Bill yet, but there is still time for further developments in their thinking before tomorrow's vote. For a group which describes itself as a 'Social Policy Think Tank', Maxim seems very confused about this legislation. Perhaps they could talk to the MPs who are opposing both bills about their new position."

This change in Maxim's thinking comes at an opportune time, since Maxim is currently promoting Compass 2005, a 'biblically based' training course for young people 'who want to expand their understanding of contemporary issues and worldviews', according to Maxim's promotional web site (http://www.compass.org.nz/events/summer.php). The course is being organised by Maxim on behalf of the American fundamentalist group, Summit Ministries. Lecturers will include several well-known American fundamentalists, as well as a representative of Answers in Genesis, the Creationist group which argues against Evolutionary Science and promotes the belief that the universe was created in seven days less than ten thousand years ago.

Paul Litterick thinks this will be a good opportunity for Maxim to promote its support of the Relationships bill to lecturers and students alike: "It would make a useful contribution to their worldviews."

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