Going Backwards II

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, May 13th, 2009 - 8 comments
Categories: families, national/act government - Tags:

A recent piece in the New York Times highlights the absurdity of going backwards with the apparent reorganisation of the Families Commission around nuclear families.

Gender involves a lot of gray area. And efforts to legislate a binary truth upon the wide spectrum of gender have proven only how elusive sexual identity can be. The case of J’noel Gardiner, in Kansas, provides a telling example. Ms. Gardiner, a postoperative transsexual woman, married her husband, Marshall Gardiner, in 1998. When he died in 1999, she was denied her half of his $2.5 million estate by the Kansas Supreme Court on the ground that her marriage was invalid. Thus in Kansas, any transgendered person who is anatomically female is now allowed to marry only another woman.

Similar rulings have left couples in similar situations in Florida, Ohio and Texas. A 1999 ruling in San Antonio, in Littleton v. Prange, determined that marriage could be only between people with different chromosomes. The result, of course, was that lesbian couples in that jurisdiction were then allowed to wed as long as one member of the couple had a Y chromosome, which is the case with both transgendered male-to-females and people born with conditions like androgen insensitivity syndrome. This ruling made Texas, paradoxically, one of the first states in which gay marriage was legal.

Lets hope the Families Commission doesn’t revert to pigeon-holing people as if it were trying to fit pairs onto the Ark.

8 comments on “Going Backwards II”

  1. jerry 1

    I think the “the apparent reorganisation of the Families Commission around nuclear families” is all in your mind.

    • Ari 1.1

      Did you ignore Ms. Rankin’s dogwhistle to that effect in her Close Up interview? She’s pretty clear what she supports there.

      • jerry 1.1.1

        Didn’t see close up so I can’t comment – I understand though she has been divorced multiple times which doesn’t really gel too well with the ‘dogwhistle”by this guest poster – from what I understand she’s only 1 of 7 senior managers anyway .

        • Tigger

          The Close Up piece is online. Rankin closes by saying that families that consist of mum AND dad are effectively being marginalised – it’s the last major thought she leaves in the interview.

          Perhaps it was just a broadside at gay parents – but effectively she’s showing disinterest in families with one parent, no mum or dad (ie. grandparents or other family members doing the parenting), same sex parents or multiple parents (as I assume her children were raised given her multiple husbands over the years) in ‘blended’ families.

          It’s been stated before but I’ll repeat it – accepting families in all their diversity in no way disparages any family unit, including the traditional nuclear family. Its the same argument that allowing gays to marry somehow debases heterosexual marriage. It’s simple scaremongering and torch waving – it’s creepy and divisive. All families need and deserve support.

          Plus can Rankin name me a family played in an ad on TV that doesn’t feature a traditional heterosexual mum and dad and kids unit? Ads are great weathervanes for prevailing opinion and I think she’d find there’s no marginalisation going on at all. If anything non-traditional units are rarely if ever featured.

  2. Scribe 2

    The Families Commission has very limited powers. It certainly doesn’t have the power to overrule the laws of this country, e.g. the relationship properties act.

    The NYT article may be applicable in certain parts of the US, but they’re not relevant to this discussion. Rest easy, Mr (Ms) Guest Post.

    • Guest 2.1

      I agree that the Family Commission won’t have the jurisdiction to repeal laws, so the direct relationship between the legal point in the NYT article and the circumstances in NZ is not applicable. However one only has to look at how ideology shaped the previous American administration’s Family Planning policy in Africa to see how a similar ideology applied in New Zealand could see the eroding of many services and shifting of public service norms away from the messiness of reality to a less inclusive morality.

      On the legal front you are right, and I shall rest easy. On ideology, no way.

      • Scribe 2.1.1


        No doubt you’re stoked that Obama’s brought back the funding for international abortions, then. What a great export that is.

  3. inpassing 3

    From the media I heard around the appointment I’d have to point to the interesting language in play. The recently appointed fellow – Chairman of the Families Commission – described Ms Rankin(it could be Mrs I’m not sure on this point) s “focussed” and “passionate”.

    The first word is par for the course in respect of stateside’s focus-on-the-family dogma per Dobson and son; the second word a deemed substitute. Obtuseness is a tried and true method by the folks of fotf and pertinent to obscure a more likely intensity of feeling/s..

    Intensity.. dogma.. do describe an authoritarian-type attitude. And in this respect the earlier part of this week’s news personalities circa this story were replete with “Look,…” commands..

    Fair call then to ask whether the gals involved here know with whom they shall be associated.. in expressing themselves.. rest assured that to informed people they are not reflecting kiwi (enzed) thinking…

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