Two high-profile conscience votes are coming up in Parliament over the next two days, the marriage equality (gay marriage) bill, and a proposal to split the minimum age for buying alcohol (raise it to 20 for supermarkets and bottle stores, but leave it at 18 for pubs). It will be interesting to see the breakdown of who votes which way on the issues.
Stuff is reporting some of the responses from the public on marriage equality:
Emails already sent to MPs cite a “destructive homosexual political cult”, the “gay mafia” and even suggest the bill is “about legalised child abuse”. “You do not know that there [is a] silent majority who do not support gay marriage. Human rights do not equal marriage rights,” one email says.
Others in support of the bill cite equal opportunities regardless of sexuality. “The vast majority of Kiwis . . . know it’s time for full equality for gay and lesbian Kiwis and they want to finally see their friends enjoy the same rights as them,” a supporter says.
Green MP Kevin Hague said few of those writing to MPs against gay marriage were presenting “strong arguments or arguments that you wouldn’t expect”. Some amounted to “an expression of a view with a bit of menace attached”, he said.
The level of malice is disturbing not only in and of itself, but also as an indication of what it is that drives and motivates many of us to get involved. Not poverty. Not climate change. Not any one of the dozens of important social and political questions of our times. Rather it is the urge to interfere in other people’s bedrooms. Fear and anger. Let’s hope that our elected representatives are capable of rising above it.