Government Must Give Assurance On Civil Union Agenda
ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks today called on Attorney General Margaret Wilson to tell New Zealanders whether
the next step after Civil Union will be the prosecution for "hate crime" of people who try to persuade others that
homosexuality is wrong.
"What does Jacquie Grant - claiming to be a member of the Human Rights Commission Review Panel - know about the
Government's agenda? Has she merely jumped the gun to threaten opponents of the Civil Union Bill, in saying - `rest
assured that you will be taken to task at every opportunity for hate crime'?
"This is exactly what I feared could lie behind the Bill, after hearing submissions on the Justice and Electoral Select
Committee. Frequent references to "homophobia" and "hate crime" by Bill supporters roused concern is that the Bill was
simply an opening ploy. Accordingly, as someone who voted for it at first reading, I urged the insertion of a provision
to protect against it being used as authority to suppress people who advocate against homosexuality."
"If Ms Grant's threat is unauthorised will she be removed from that Panel, as unsuitable and prone to abuse of office?"
"In the absence of a provision in the Bill to protect freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of
religion, I will be urging my colleagues to vote against it, even though I have no objection to state neutrality toward
couples who wish to choose the rights and obligations the state has prescribed for marriage," Mr Franks said.