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Posted on 18 April 2013, 11:28 am in , , , , ,

Equality for all, until death (or divorce) do us part

Over on Hard News Russell Brown talks eloquently, passionately and adultly about the passing last night of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. It's a great read. He actually watched the third reading of the Bill, as did many others he points out, and commended politicians on their unusual respect and good-faith leadership.

As I tweeted last night, I wanted the Bill to pass, not for marriage's but for equality's sake. I used to quip, back in my days as a comedian, that marriage was the cause of divorce and that, if marriage were banned, divorce rates were certain to decline. I still stand behind my logic.

While I'm happy that, in 2013, we can finally, as Russell says, complete "an arc that began with the torrid, sometimes terrible days leading up to homosexual law reform in 1986," I'm also a little disappointed. As a queer dude, it feels weird that we have bought into one of if not the most conservative, patriacal and mainstream traditions of society.

It's a completely illogical response, I know, to wish the Bill hadn't passed last night — and I don't at all. But the idea of marriage has, since I was about 13, been quite unappealing, if not abhorrant, to me. So when I came out at 19 (in 1986), one of the first things I realised was that I wouldn't get married, which was quite a relief.

Now I could. I mean I doubt I ever will and I'd be terribly disappointed in myself if I did, but there's nothing to stop me anymore, not in New Zealand, anyway.

So, back to the kind of positive side of it, every Kiwi, regardless of sexual orientation, has the same opportunity to marry (I know, I know, it's still a choice) — great stuff. But, of course, along with that goes the potential for divorce and, believe me, gay people will divorce.

So, the divorce rate will now rise, I would estimate, by about ten percent. Nobody thought of that, did they?

A Marriage (Marriage Ban) Amendment Bill — now that would have been a real step forward.