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Marriage (Discrimination) Bill Defeated

Marriage (Discrimination) Bill Defeated - Support for Human Rights Builds

The clear defeat of the Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill at its first reading may indicate that this Parliament is even more supportive of Human Rights than the last, says Campaign for Civil Unions spokesperson Jeremy Lambert.

The Bill, promoted by United Future’s Gordon Copeland, was heavily criticised from all sides of the House, with the National Party’s Katherine Rich describing it as a “cheap political stunt”.

Eleven of Ms Rich’s National Party colleagues joined her in voting against the bill – a bill which, if it had succeeded, would have allowed discrimination against couples in civil unions in favour of those who had married.

However, the strongest block of opposition came from the Labour and Green parties who, together, provided 55 of the 61 votes required to defeat the bill.

“This bill was a blatant attack on same-sex couples and the civil union legislation passed last year. Ironically, it has probably had the opposite effect that its promoters had intended. During the debate MPs were clearly irate that time was being spent restating existing law and potentially providing a forum for what Katherine Rich described as ‘a bunch of banjo-playing redneck homophobes’”, says Jeremy Lambert.

The bill was also supported by the Maori Party and its speaker, Hone Harawira, spoke passionately about the debate about this bill within his party and the reasons why they had decided to oppose it.

“The extent and breadth of political opposition to this bill should be extremely comforting for civil union supporters. However, it does illustrate why we need to remain vigilant and monitor closely extremist MPs who seek to place their views and lifestyles above others.”

United Future and ACT were the only parties to fully support the bill. The bill was defeated by 73 votes to 47.

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