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September 24, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Bent: Marriage Matters

When I came out to my father he was driving down Cobham Drive on the Wellington Waterfront. I waited until we were halfway through our trip before I told him. It was one of the proudest, happiest and most frightening days of my life.

One day I hope to walk up the aisle with the man I love and who I want to grow old with. It too will be the proudest, happiest but also most frightening day of my life.

Louisa Wall’s marriage equality Bill will define marriage as a “union between two people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation
or gender identity”. It will bring give every kiwi, whether straight, gay or transgender the chance to have their relationships formally recognised by the state, just like everyone else.

Polls consistently show widespread public support for marriage equality, especially among youth. It’s a reform whose time has come. There are three key reasons why our MPs should all vote it through.

The first is that marriage is about love. It is about two people committing to themselves for the rest of their lives, and applying to the state to have that emotional bond recognised by the law.

The second reason is that marriage is about fairness. As kiwis, we pride ourselves on our egalitarian culture. We think everyone should have a chance, and that everyone deserves a fair go.

The third is that marriage is about being equal before the law, and ensuring that our laws do not discriminate. We would be horrified if Pakeha New Zealanders could apply to be married under the Marriage Act, but Maori or Pasifika couples were only allowed to apply for a Civil Union. That distinction is racist and absurd. But that distinction currently exists between heterosexual and same-sex couples.

Finally, removing an historic discrimination against LGBT kiwis sends a powerful signal. It sends a message that everyone has an equal place in New Zealand society, no matter who they are. This debate is not easy for some. Many know of friends and family who have been bullied, beaten up or abused just for daring to be themselves. Last year, 20 per cent of queer youth attempted suicide because of the social stigma that comes with being ‘different’. This tragedy must stop. Marriage equality is a vital step for the protection of our whanau, and especially for the protection of our youth.

What we need to do now is show our support. make sure you go to www. marriageequality.co.nz/submit and tell Parliament that marriage equality matters.

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About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

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