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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

18th September 2008

Premature Closure: John Key and LGBT Equality

Posted by: Craig Young

John Key argues that it is now time that we should shelve the issues of the past, as they are mostly in either adjudication or active policy development, and get on with our lives. It’s time that we stopped fighting the battles of twenty to thirty years ago, he argues.

Sorry, I am unconvinced by Mr Key’s statement. And to be frank, there is unfinished business that needs to be dealt with, from twenty to thirty years ago, not to mention remaining LGBT rights issues. In some ways, though, the battles are not those of twenty to thirty years ago. Male homosexuality has long since been decriminalised, lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are covered under anti-discrimination laws, and we have access to civil unions, as well as a wide range of same-sex parenting options. However, we don’t have access to marriage or adoption as yet, and the troublesome ‘provocation defence’ is still lodged within the Crimes Act. And as I’ve said before, I agree with the proposition that the Muldoon era’s abortion laws are insufficient to deal with the reality and practice of women’s reproductive freedom today, so let’s decriminalise abortion altogether, as has occurred in Canada, the Australian Capital Territory and now, Victoria.

I would like nothing better to close the book altogether on LGBT equality issues. Trouble is, there are still outstanding areas of LGBT inequality to deal with. The Bolger/Shipley administrations of the nineties both acknowledged that, but most of the National Party today doesn’t, apart from Chris Finlayson. Effectively, Key’s premature closure of LGBT issues inscribes ghettoisation, inequality and social exclusion against same-sex parents, prospective adopted children, and the victims of violent homophobic assault. 

Granted, same-sex marriage proper is one of those formal equality issues, like LGBT ordination in the Presbyterian Church and the prospect of an openly gay and out New Zealand rugby union player, that affects a subset of our communities, although adoption reform and provocation defence reform are broader and more substantive ones.

Unfortunately, it’s starting to look as if the forthcoming Key administration is going to be an era of inertia and attacks on the concept of equality and citizen participation across the board, to be borne until something better comes along- hopefully, a Labour/Green coalition in 2011.

Tags: Politics · Religion

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