I believe that LGBT rights are human rights and that the whole of our society will be better if we enable a large swathe of New Zealanders to fully embrace these rights under New Zealand law. There is nothing moral, sensible nor prudential about this form of institutionalised discrimination. While marriage once had its beginnings in practical considerations to do with the protection of the family, we are increasingly finding that people can live perfectly well in loving, committed relationships without it. What it comes down to, then, is choice. The choice to formalise, symbolise your relationship in a legally - and, arguably, moral - way. That there are people wanting to do this is surely a wonderful, beautiful thing. It seems perverse to argue that an increase in the number of loving, equal kiwi families will be a detriment to society.
I don’t know. The pessimist in me thinks that you’ll have already made up your minds, or that the bureaucratic processes will mean some of you will have to compromise your beliefs for the sake of the party, or some other deal you have going on elsewhere in parliament. But I also think about when my parents divorced, and my mum and I went to live in a renovated one-bedroom flat in the bottom storey of the house of a wonderful, committed, lesbian couple in Hataitai. They housed and looked after us for six months, giving my mum a chance to get back on her feet. They gave our lives at this time a form of structure that we would otherwise have lacked. If they could have married, I think they would have. And I find it ludicrous that we assume a heterosexual relationship - like my parents’, failing from its very beginnings - contains within it more sanctity than a homosexual one. That’s discrimination. And it’s a form of discrimination that is rapidly decreasing, notably amongst the younger generation. I can offer you no prudential reasons for voting against this bill, but one for; you’re going to get left behind, old guard. You’ll be branded as relics of another time. The government ought to lead in a progression towards a more equal society, not be dragged along behind society as we increasingly embrace progressive ideals.
Ultimately, this debate has centred around belief. Belief and love. I believe that LGBT rights are right; others will (and do) believe otherwise. But if we let our dogmatism, our bloody-minded insistence that our beliefs are correct over all the others, overshadow the simple truth that there are people in this country wanting to express their love for one another to the fullest extent they can under law and they are being denied this, then there is something deeply wrong with New Zealand society as it currently stands. The government has a role to protect its citizens, and to rectify wrongs institutionalised in society. Do this.