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Range of marriage views and arguments in gay community

Aug 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Article, News

 

PIRI Norris (24) and partner Justin Elder made history last November as the first couple to hold a civil union at Parliament.

Mr Norris says they intend to change their civil union certificate to a marriage certificate as soon as possible if the bill passes.

“I know that some couples simply do not want to marry because they perceive it as having religious affiliations, and that is their prerogative.

“I want to get married because I want to refer to Justin as my husband. I also don’t want to feel like I’m worth less because I can’t actually get married,” Mr Norris says.

“The ceremony we had at Parliament will always be our wedding day, and changing the status of our certificate is only for legal and practical purposes,” he says.

The couple now live in Melbourne. Mr Norris says the Australian government’s position on same-sex marriage is unlikely to change soon, although he feels a vast majority of Australians support its legalisation.

“I do hope that if the bill in NZ passes that Australia will realise how far behind the times they are, and hopefully change their stance. If they do pass Louisa Wall’s bill it would make me very proud to be a Kiwi.”

Ross Scott (53) is a marriage and civil union celebrant and is himself in a same-sex civil union. He says he will happily officiate at same-sex weddings if the bill is passed, but does not see the need for marriage.

“There’s something unique about gay relationships – they’re of equal value to straight ones, but they are different,” he says.

Mr Scott says he would prefer marriage equality to come as a gift from New Zealand’s heterosexuals, rather than as a campaign by the gay community.

“I would support it more if it was a straight community initiative, rather than just the gay community saying ‘we want it too’.”

Executive director of Rainbow Youth, Tom Hamilton, says it is about human rights and equality.
 
When responding to Damien O’Connor’s quote in the Dominion Post that there are “far bigger issues”, Mr Hamilton says there are always big issues before Parliament.
 
“If there was a hierarchy of legislative change, this Bill would have been passed long ago.
 
“Faith has many visual images and queer people have a range of values and beliefs too” he says in response to the Korean Church lobby’s stance that God intended marriage solely for same sex couples.
 
“Human Rights legislation already has clear guidelines on discrimination but if I was contemplating marriage and I knew a celebrant or minister held biased views, I’d take my business elsewhere.”
 
Although Rainbow Youth are a peer support rather than a lobby group, they support the Bill and Mr Hamilton says Marriage equality is about human equality.

“That’s very important to us.”

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