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NZ should follow Australia and codify Marriage law

MEDIA RELEASE

MAXIM INSTITUE

25 July 2005

New Zealand should follow Australia and codify common law on Marriage

"If the Australian Labor Party and Liberal Party can unite together and legislate to remove the doubt over the common law position on marriage; that it is between one man and one woman-why won't New Zealand?" asks Maxim Institute Policy Manager Nicki Taylor.

On 13 August 2004 the Australian Senate voted 38 to 6 in favour of the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill. In a rare move, both major parties agreed to codify the common law in legislation, so that the Courts could not redefine marriage.

"It is pleasing to hear that the National Party, Maori Party, New Zealand First, United Future and members of ACT, will all be voting in support of Larry Baldock's Marriage Amendment Bill this Wednesday", says Nicki Taylor.

The Prime Minister has dismissed the Bill as unnecessary, and has decided the New Zealand Labour Party will oppose the Bill, except for one member who has we understand has been granted permission to cross the floor.

"If the Australian Labor Party thought it necessary to codify the common law on marriage, why is the New Zealand Labour Party unwilling to even debate the Bill at Select Committee?" asks Taylor.

The Senator for Tasmania, Guy Barnett, who helped initiate and shepherd the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill through the Australian parliament, has offered his support for Larry Baldock's Bill.

"The meaning of marriage is too important to leave in the hands of the Courts. Parliament must follow the lead of our closest neighbour and take responsibility for ensuring that the definition of marriage remains as it is" says Taylor.

ENDS

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