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Alliance Celebrates Human Rights Victory

Alliance Celebrates Human Rights Victory

The passing of the Civil Union Bill is a momentous occasion for New Zealand, but not the end of the struggle, says the Alliance.

It is gratifying that that the majority of MPs swiftly rejected a flurry of amendments intended merely to sabotage the bill. The proposal for a referendum was a particularly dirty trick. "If opponents of the bill had truly been concerned for the right of the public to make important decisions, they would have called for a referendum a year ago," said Kelly Buchanan, Alliance Spokesperson on Human Rights. "To introduce the idea at this late stage was obviously nothing but a last ditch ploy to delay the bill."

However, with the Relationships Bill postponed till next March, Civil Unions remain largely symbolic. The Alliance is calling for the Relationships bill to be split in two, to enable the part that assigns rights and responsibilities to couples in Civil Unions to be passed promptly. "State recognition of de facto relationships is a complex issue that needs a proper public debate. This can't happen while the Civil Union controversy is allowed to drag on."

Members of PrideAlliance, the Queer Network of the Alliance, are particularly thrilled with the passing of the Civil Union Bill. "We'd like to thank all the groups and individuals around the country who have put so much work in to getting this bill passed, and the MPs who voted in favour of human rights," said Ms Buchanan. "We're confident that full equality for all, regardless of orientation, will be achieved over the next few years."

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