Louisa Wall led the New Zealand Parliament to allowing same-sex marriage in a solid move towards equality for all. New Zealand joins the growing list of countries who are recognising the wishes of the wider population to allow any two people to marry regardless of sexual orientation. With the UK and France just waiting to get it into legislation there are more and more people recognising that this is a human rights issue as much as anything else.
Netherlands led the way in 2001 followed by Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012) and Uruguay (2013) makes New Zealand the 13th to turn the corner, with some states in the US and Brazil also allowing it. Yes there is opposition with Australia voting against the idea last year, but some states do allow civil partnerships and that appears to be the pattern for many countries but time will gradually see this change sweep much of the globe.
For me to see countries like South Africa and New Zealand where there have been issues in recent history with race being an issue that caused division, they have the memory of that hurt and discrimination so they have been quicker to make the change for the gay community. Many critics talk about the re-definition of the word marriage but if you look marriage up is says:
“noun the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife”
– how difficult is it to change “a man and a woman” to “two people”? To redefine the word is nothing words are reclaimed or used in a different way all the time yet there isn’t an outcry each time the OED publishes its most recent edition. Also who does it ultimately affect? The only real change is to those who will be able to get married that couldn’t before – it changes nothing for the heterosexuals of that country so it is just discrimination, pure & simple.
We live in a time of high divorce rates, more single parent families than ever before so who are we to dare judge those who are in a gay marriage when we’ve managed to corrupt the system ourselves. What are we protecting and for who? If it’s purely the definition then people need to get out more, if it’s a religious thing then exclude religious institutions fro the legislation. I got married but in a civil service so there is no issue there. It is prejudice and small mindedness of the highest order.
When the law was passed in New Zealand one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in politics happened; the public galleries started to sing a traditional Maori love song to celebrate the legislation and were joined by many of the lawmakers. This is what it is about – love. Something we all want in our lives and hope others find. We should not stand in the way of two individuals who love one another the chance to experience the ultimate proclamation of love. See the reaction to the legislation here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DW4DXOAXF8U and it will restore your faith in human nature.