16 December 2005
Maxim Institute Comments on cost of Suicide
Several days ago, the ministry of heath released report putting the estimated economic cost of suicide at about $3
million for each life lost. It always seems a little callous to put a monetary cost on a life, numbers are numbers after
all, and are inherently cold things to deal with.
There is of course a massive social cost associated with suicide and the fallout for friends and loved ones is
incalculable, but what happens when an organisation whose work if nothing encourages feelings of suicide comes out with
an 'oh isn't it so sad something must be done' message?
The Maxim institute has come out swinging, and perhaps the statement found in the latest real issues that resonates the
most is "How can a dollar value be placed upon the loss to family and friends of a loved one, or the wasted potential of
a unique human being?" Its hard to disagree with such a sentiment, though it is sickening that this statement comes from
the mouth of the Maxim institute and smacks of the pot boiling the kettle black. Why? Because the constant message put
out by the Maxim institute is that if you are gay, its a choice -and its a *bad* one.
As former director Bruce Logan said in his opinion piece 'Is democracy dying' "Behaviour once considered wrong and
destructive in many cultures— premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality and pornography — are now tolerated, If not
accepted." Wrong? Destructive? On the one hand Maxim are claiming what a social tragedy suicide is while on the other
hand singling out a particularly at risk community as wrong, destructive and how terrible it is by implication that
homosexuality is 'tolerated'.
To make sure it has its bases covered, Maxim also claims that if on the off chance homosexuality is not a choice - it’s
still wrong. From their oral submission on the Civil Unions Bill "Even if a genetic cause could be found, it would not
justify a law change. The nature of same-sex relationships is different to opposite-sex couples.
It is reasonable to treat different relationships differently." It sounds harmless doesn't it? But lets take a longer
look of it in conjunction with Logan's comment above and the following from Amanda McGrail, Maxim's communications
manager: "Tolerating homosexual relationships is no longer enough. The government now wants to say they are the same as
marriage. This is not tolerance. It is denial."
According to Ms McGrail tolerance should not be accorded to someone who is queer - because after all you are gay and
therefore different and wrong. Want more evidence? Lets have a look at this from Maxim’s real issues newsletter from
March 2004 entitled 'Sexual Orientation Resolution Destroys Free Speech': "'Sexual orientation' is on the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights agenda at its 60th session in Geneva next week. The resolution proposes that 'sexual
orientation', be added to the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family." It is fraught with
problems and offers no definition of sexual orientation.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to support the conclusion that sexual orientation is innate like race and sex. What
looks like an exercise in freedom is actually a direct attack on free speech. Those who disagree will be labelled and
silenced. If this resolution passes it will clash with established rights of religious freedom and expression, as has
happened in Sweden.
Individual nations will be expected to ensure their laws comply with the policy so as not to discriminate on the basis
of 'sexual orientation'. In the absence of any definition a precedent is established to allow polygamy for bisexuals, or
lowering the age of consent for paedophiles. In addition, if the resolution does become a new UN human right, then any
suggestion that any of these 'sexual orientations' are wrong could be considered discrimination and become a punishable
Under no circumstances, according to Maxim, should someone who is gay be accorded the same inalienable human rights as a
heterosexual. The law should be able to discriminate against otherwise law-abiding citizens because they happen to be
homosexual. Also, Maxim gloss over the key to a gay relationship, as with a heterosexual one, is that it is between two
consenting adults - to mention paedophilia does nothing but equate homosexuals to paedophiles with all the negativity
and social scorn that entails.
One of the greatest problems faced by those coming to terms with their sexuality is a societies attitude towards them.
The Safe Schools for Queers initiative is aimed at providing safe environments for students at schools, social networks
and gay help lines, even HappyClappingHomos.com exist to press home the message that your sexuality does not make you
less than human or worthless, wrong, or self destructive.
In light of the research project directed by Professor David Fergusson at the Christchurch School of Medicine that Gay
men and women suffer more mental health problems than heterosexuals with the view that it is a result of discrimination
it is vitally important that those who are coming out or coming to terms with their sexuality receive positive messages
from their peers, friends, family and role models.
Ask yourselves if it is just for someone to contemplate suicide because those people closest to them have bought into
messages put forward by people such as those at Maxim?
Obviously the value of a heterosexual to Maxim and society at large is significantly higher than if you're gay. Given
what the Institute thinks of homosexuality in general it would seem that perhaps a higher rate of suicide amongst the
gay community would suit the great vision of a unified homogenous society that Maxim postulate. After all, we have
already embarked on what the Institute outlines in a piece called 'loosing our grip on marriage' "The final step in the
quest for full acceptance of homosexuality as a valid lifestyle choice." Your sexuality according to the institute is a
choice, a wrong one. You are according to Maxim worth less than your heterosexual mate, and while you may be single,
perhaps on good money and maybe worth more than your $3 million price tag, it is sickening to know that in the eyes of
the Maxim institute and their staffers you are nothing more than "wrong and destructive".
HappyClappingHomos.com is a Wellington based gay rights web site. We keep an eye on the ramblings of Destiny and City
Impact Churches’, Paul “City-Impact Pastor” Adams and the rest of UFNZ. We watch and question The Maxim Institute,
Garnet Milne, the Society for Prevention of Film Festivals and the rest of the weird and whacky nuts who sprung up over
the Civil Unions debate
We can be found at www.happyclappinghomos.com