I’d shed a few tears even before the final vote came through. It was not the quality of the speeches in Parliament, necessarily, although some of them were brilliant, Kevin Hague’s especially. But the sense of living through history was what felt so moving, and will be leading to celebrations all around the country tonight. This is a victory. And it is the culmination of one phase in the struggle stretching all the way back to Homosexual Law Reform.
There are signs the struggle for equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people may be emerging as a live issue in New Zealand. Labour’s Lousia Wall and the Greens’ Kevin Hague both have plans for bills raising the chance of parliament granting equal rights for same-sex couples. It’s asign of the widespread support for LGBT rights in the community that even John Key has felt pressured enough to indicate he would support a bill through its first reading.
Socialists support equal marriage rights – the right to choose marriage (or not), and to adopt children, are basic democratic demands. It’s a simple case of equality before the law for LGBT people. But, for us, just as important for us is the campaign this issue would demand. A visible fight for LGBT rights can put the homophobes on the defensive, and can advance a wider agenda of LGBT liberation.
At least a thousand people showed out today to support a bill being introduced to parliament today, which would amend the Marriage Act to allow marriage between same sex couples. While many would argue that marriage is an institution best avoided, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a right, with many associated legal benefits, denied to many couples simply because they are of the same gender.
Why march? Here’s some of the reasons from the leaflet created and distributed by the Queer Avengers:
“In 2011, after a series of queer bashings in Wellington, hundreds of people from the community came together to reclaim the streets, to paint the town pink & purple, to Queer the Night. Out of this march the Queer Avengers formed.