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Greens to support civil union changes

16 July, 2003
Greens to support civil union changes

The Green Party has thrown its support in behind moves to introduce legislation allowing same sex and de facto couples to have the same legal rights as married couples.

Metiria Turei, the Green spokesperson for Family Law, said the proposed legislation would help lessen the discrimination suffered by same sex couples and those who would not want a religious based marriage.

"It is important that we recognise that relationships come in different forms and that the legal protections offered by traditional marriages is an out-dated model," said Metiria.

"New Zealanders have moved on from a one-belief, one-religion, and one-size-fits-all approach to how we live our lives so it is essential that all unions be recognised and afforded the same respect and consideration as traditional forms of marriage.

"A civil union register would increase the rights and choices available to all de facto couples who want their relationship recognised by the state and society but do not approve of traditional marriages.

"There are over 100 pieces of legislation that discriminate unfairly against same sex couples," said Metiria. "These range from next of kin and immediate family rights, parenting rights to a whole raft of laws that recognise only married couples."

The Green Party has long called same sex couples to have the same rights as others. The 2001 census indicates that 10,341 couples were of the same sex. Metiria welcomed the move because it would reflect growing international practice.

"Many other countries are recognising same sex relationships with similar legislation. We would hope the legislation allows for New Zealand to develop reciprocal arrangements with other countries so that civil unions can be recognised bother here and abroad."

Green Party support for the legislation is important, as the Government is unlikely to gain support from United Future.

"The Green Party supports all measures to remove prejudice from New Zealand society," said Metiria.


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