Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill
To the Government Administration Select Committee
Dear Select Committee Members
This submission is made on behalf of the Wellington Gay Welfare Group. The Wellington Gay Welfare Group Inc (WGWG) is an incorporated society and registered charity. WGWG promotes the welfare of all those in the
We support marriage equality for all New Zealanders and we support the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill will remove a historical discrimination that has no place in modern
Marriage is an important issue for those within same-sex relationships, our families and friends but it is also an important issue for all New Zealanders. A more equal society is better for everyone.
Legislation that treats same-sex attracted New Zealanders as second-class citizens, reinforces our inequality. The impact of this inequality is very often tragic. Teenagers who are same-sex attracted have attempted suicide at rates five times higher than their heterosexual peers. These attempts relate to experiences of discrimination and marginalization. If we want to do something about this appalling statistic we need to address prejudice and discrimination. Sending a message to young people that our society treats all people equally will send this message clearly.
In a recent Colmar Brunton poll, 63 per cent of New Zealanders think same-sex couples should be able to marry. Of 18 to 34 year olds, 76% think that same-sex couples should be able to get married. The public are in strong support of this Bill, and so Members of Parliament should also support it.Allowing same sex marriage will not affect any existing heterosexual marriages. A couple's relationship, history, and marriage cannot be undermined by another couple having their strong bond also recognised.
This Bill is about fairness and choice, not how or where people choose to marry. It will not oblige churches to marry gay couples. Some argue that the state did not invent marriage and so has no authority to re-invent it. This Bill only changes the state sanctioned definition of marriage by amending the New Zealand Parliament's Marriage Act of 1955. It does not change how other people define their relationships. Many religious communities have also expressed their support for marriage equality.
The list of countries where same sex marriage is now legal is growing; New Zealanders value equality and so should join with these other countries; Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark.