Yesterday I tweeted
— Sarah-Rose (@ohsarahrose) February 25, 2013
Today I tweeted
— Sarah-Rose (@ohsarahrose) February 26, 2013
Then I sat there, at my desk, and teared up a little as I read the Select Committee report. If you want to read the full text, and I recommend you do, you can do so here. My favourite excepts are below.
“The Government Administration Committee has examined the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill and recommends by majority that it be passed with the amendments shown.”
“The majority of us consider that marriage is a human right, and that it is unacceptable for the state to deny this right to same-sex couples.”
“The Marriage Act enables people to become legally married; it does not ascribe moral or religious values to marriage.”
“We note that if the bill were to pass it would enable international recognition of relationship status for married same-sex couples.”
“The bill as consequentially amended would enable any transgender people to continue to be married regardless of their gender identity.”
“We note that currently under the law a homosexual or transgender person may legally adopt a child, but same-sex couples may not. Such a position seems absurd.”
“The passion with which submitters made their arguments to us was palpable. We commend all those people who took the time to make a submission.”
“We were impressed by the participation of young people in this debate. We received heartfelt submissions from youth on both sides of the debate. We are heartened that so many of the younger generation, which is so often maligned as uninterested in politics and marriage, chose to involve themselves in this debate.”
I had been having one of those days where I felt insignificant. Now, and you can read most of my submission here, I really really don’t.
The amendments recommended by the Select Committee are to Section 29 and Section 56, and also delays the commencement of the bill.
Section 29 of the Act states: “A marriage licence shall authorize but not oblige any marriage celebrant to solemnise the marriage to which it relates.” The proposed amendment is the addition of a subsection 5A which clarifies this.
Or to be specific
In section 29, insert as subsection (2): “(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), no celebrant who is a minister of religion recognised by a religious body enumerated in Schedule 1, and no celebrant who is a person nominated to solemnize marriages by an approved organisation, is obliged to solemnize a marriage if solemnizing that marriage would contravene the religious beliefs of the religious body or the religious beliefs or philosophical or humanitarian convictions of the approved organisation.”
Section 56 states that it is an offence to impugn or deny the validity of a lawful marriage. The Select Committee has recommended that this section be repealed as “We consider that section 56 is not compatible with the rights and freedoms set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993.”
As part of the anti-marriage equality debates there was an article circulated in which the author refers to the “fact” that debate regarding the morality or legitimacy of same sex relations was to be made illegal. It was, of course, is completely untrue. The author used Section 56 of the Act, which already existed in New Zealand law, to back up his assertion.
The Committee also noted ” By recommending the repeal of section 56 in the context of this bill, it is not our intention to suggest that it is appropriate to denigrate any kind of marriage.” which is excellent.
There’s a four month delay in Department of Internal Affairs to prepare for its implementation.