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April 29, 2013 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Notes from the Fourth Estate: Bird’s Eye View

Inside Parliament, the marriage-equality debate was always going to be a battle of the dinosaurs, given the House is comprised in large part of old white men.

For those of us under a certain age (aside from religio squares), it seemed crazy that gay couples couldn’t already marry, and even more bizarre that so many members of the public thought there was some kind of gay scourge threatening to undermine their own marriages.

This was an issue about rights, about equality and—most of all—about love, that led dinosaurs to emerge on both sides of the debate.

By now, everyone knows that longtime National MP Maurice Williamson won the Bill’s final reading, burning opponents with lolz about rainbows and the gay onslaught. He may yet appear on Ellen Degeneres’ TV show in the US, where hopefully he’ll be asked about his flip-flop from opposing civil unions to supporting gay marriage, while claiming he’s always voted liberally on conscience issues.

Other star National Party dinosaurs included Hunua MP Paul Hutchison, who decided to support the Bill just a day before the First Reading, and Chris Auchinvole—the star of the Second Reading whose clever questions and pro-equality stance surprised those sitting in on select-committee hearings.

ACT’s lonely John Banks also stood out: not for his oratory skills, but for a speech in which he explained how he’d changed his views since his rabid opposition to Homosexual Law Reform in 1986 to supporting gay marriage, without once saying sorry—sorry for calling the people affected by the legislation “perverts” and “sexual deviants”, sorry for calling the passage of the legislation nearly 30 years ago “a sad and sickening day for New Zealand”.

Over and above those dinosaurs, one stood out: New Zealand First leader Winston Peters who, instead of picking a side on the debate, pussied out by calling for a referendum and avoiding debating the actual issue.

It was an easy out for Peters and his ragtag team of muppets, but no surprise from a guy who voted against Homosexual Law Reform and Civil Unions and whose politics have aged no better than his double-breasted pinstripe suits.

One political numpty stood out more than the actual politicians, despite failing to get elected in 2011: Conservative Party leader Colin
Craig, who showed money can’t buy you a sense of humour when he took defamation action against satire site The Civilian over a fake article with fake quotes that he clearly thought were too similar to something he’d actually say.

It seems his media and legal teams failed to tell him he’d look like a complete knob when the matter inevitably hit headlines, so it didn’t take long for Craig to drop his legal action and get back to his core business of putting out press releases that get zero media coverage.

To summarise: the parliamentary debate is over but life as we know it isn’t, the squares will probably wave their pitchforks and whinge a bit longer about their vanilla marriages being undermined, while the rest of us can look forward to planning and attending big fat gay weddings.


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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