Mike Butler: The gay-marriage self-parody

Breaking Views – NZCPD 19 April 2013
The phrase “gay rights for nuclear-free whales” quite accurately parodies the shallow, trendy, bumper-sticker campaigns of the New Zealand left. Shallow trendiness dominated parliament this week as Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage Bill) Amendment Bill passed its third reading 77 votes to 44.

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson promised the sky would not cave in, which was obvious since figures from New Zealand’s 2006 census show that same-sex couples make up fewer than 1 percent of all couples in New Zealand. The numbers of homosexual men living together reached 0.3 percent in 2006, while the number of homosexual women cohabiting made up 0.4 percent of all couples living together.

A total of 3516 female couples and 2655 male couples lived together in 2006, compared with 867,696 couples of the opposite sex. In 2011, of all homosexual couples living together, 232 couples entered into a civil union, with 133 of them women.

To what extent did this shallow, trendy, bumper-sticker campaign clog up parliament? Some indication came from the time it took for MPs to reply to the email I sent to all on August 28 last year. Labour MP Lianne Dalziel replied in March this year while National MP Nicky Wagner replied on April 16.

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