INDEPENDENT NEWS

Civil Unions Isn’t Gay Marriage – Yeah Right

Published: Mon 6 Dec 2004 08:51 AM
Civil Unions Isn’t Gay Marriage – Yeah Right
Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope woke this morning to find every single window on his electorate office covered in colour posters modelled on the Tui Beer ads protesting the duplicity behind the Civil Unions Bill.
Benson-Pope is one of the key proponents of the Civil Unions Bill.
The Posters read "Civil Unions Isn’t Gay Marriage – Yeah Right" and were labelled "Fui". They were adhered to the MP’s office windows with water-soluble glue so were easily removed without causing any damage.
Matthew Flannagan, a PhD Candidate in Theology at the University of Otago today accepted individual responsibility for the posters.
Flannagan who already holds a Masters degree with first class honours in Philosophy from the University of Waikato stated
"My actions were intended as a humorous way of getting a point across without causing anyone any harm and without leaving any lasting damage to property."
"The point of this exercise was to highlight the duplicity surrounding the Civil Unions Bill. This piece of legislation is being sold as an alternative to Gay Marriage, we are supposed to believe that Civil Unions is not Marriage – they are two different things. Yet when one reads the Bill it is clear that within New Zealand it is legally identical to the Marriage Act but the terms pertaining to Marriage have been twinked out and Civil Union terminology put in their place."
"Somehow because the words have been changed and there are now two Acts pertaining to legally recognised relationships that provide exactly the same rights, status, privileges and costs we are supposed to buy that they are two different things. As Shakespeare said 400 years ago ‘What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.’"
"I am not fooled by this semantic equivocation on Benson-Pope and other Labour MP’s part, however I am concerned some New Zealanders might be given few people actually read proposed legislation."
"I have observed many opinion polls over recent months on this issue and have noted that the support for Gay Marriage is significantly lower than support for Civil Unions. This indicates to me that there is a large segment of the population who oppose Gay Marriage but have been deceived that Civil Unions is something different."
"Democratically elected officials have a duty to be honest with their constituents about the legislation they enact. This ensures transparency and accountability in the electoral process. If the Government believes the case for Gay Marriage has merit then they should be open and honest enough to admit this and allow for informed and honest debate."
"To deceive ones constituents then claim a mandate on the basis of opinions formed on this deception is to subvert the democratic process."

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