Wither Utah, indeed…

The Governor of Utah has had a brain, and vetoed the bill I mentioned the other day, after a huge amount of public pressure opposing the legislation.

“What’s been striking about the correspondence that we’ve been receiving is that it’s not template or spam content. It’s individually and uniquely crafted and often very heartfelt, from parents, from educators, from those who care about Utah’s kids and public policy,” [Allyson] Isom [the governor’s spokesperson] said in an interview with KUER.

Already, some of the fanatics on the right are crying BAWWW, but this is an all around good thing, and is an example of the governor doing the job of his office—standing in the way of legislation that would be harmful to his people, and in conflict of their rights.

The bill was mostly one of sex education in the state schools, and would have made Utah the first state to mandate abstinence-only sex ed across the board (using abstinence-only sex ed to prevent pregnancies and the transmission of STIs, is the equivalent of preventing heart attacks by not letting people know anything about diet, smoking or first-aid).

But the bill had a more sinister undercurrent, for it also prohibited schools from discussing homosexuality in a positive manner. This is abhorrent, and such policy has already directly lead to the deaths of students across the US and the world.

It is all around a good thing to see this kind of legislation vetoed, but it makes me worried about what else the Legislature has brewing…

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Conservatives should favour same-sex marriage

From the UK’s PM David Cameron, comes a gem of wisdom showing that, in spite of what they say, same-sex marriage is in line with conservative ideals.

“I stood before a Conservative conference once and I said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a man and another man or a woman and a woman.

“You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage.

“And to anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.

“So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

Emphasis mine.

Launch of “LegaliseLove” to Level a Locution for Liberty

Alliteration aside (soz, couldn’t resist), this is a fantastic thing. The marriage equality movement in new zealand has stagnated since the passing of the Civil Union Act 2004, and the launch of the LegaliseLove campaign looks set to make the most of the recent stirrings in the adoption reform discussion and kick off a serious discussion:

LegaliseLove is a campaign working towards two things: marriage equality and adoption rights for non-heterosexual New Zealanders.

Adoption rights for non-heterosexual couples is important, because there are many couples who are not allowed to provide loving, stable homes to children who desperately need it, for no other reason than whether they’ve got an innie or an outie; and also because there are many, many couples who already have children, but aren’t able to have their guardianship rights legally recognised because their genitals don’t have the required polarity.

Marriage equality is also important in new zealand. Even though we already have civil unions, they carry the whole separate-but-equal stigma (hat-tip Idiot/Savant) that while explicitly equal, is implicitly not equal — the government is treating us like second class citizens, who don’t deserve full recognition of our existence.

If the government were to legalise same-sex marriage, it would send a bold signal to the people of this country, and the world, that queer people are equal and deserve equal rights. We pride ourselves, as a nation, as being at the forefront of human rights globally, through our work in the UN, and yet, we seem to be neglecting the ideal within our own shores.

New York is still here, as is Canada, Spain, Argentina and all the other states that have legalised same-sex marriage, and updated their adoption laws — these places haven’t been consumed in Sodomesque conflagrations. As I’ve said before, the only reason to oppose it is bigotry. There are a number of reasons that politicians don’t want to pick it up — ranging from not wanting to lose votes from those against it to actively opposing it themselves. Either way, their opposition is bigoted, because it places votes above the rights of a significant portion of the population.

I hope LeganiseLove takes off, and I intend to give it my full support. I hope you will do the same.

Labour look to shake up adoption laws

by Mr Wainscotting

Jacinda Ardern, the Labour Party’s Youth Justice spokesperson, sent out a press release today announcing plans to table a Care of Children Law Reform Bill to modernise New Zealand’s adoption laws.

“The current Adoption Act needs changing. It is over 50 years old. It was written at a time when we had far more ‘stranger’ adoptions than we do now. It discriminates against prospective parents, doesn’t take into account whangai adoption and prevents children from being cared for in the best possible family environment.”

Also included would be opening adoption up to same-sex couples. Something that is long overdue in any state, let alone New Zealand.

“It also fails to take into account the number of legislative changes introduced over the past decade areas such as assisted reproduction technology, surrogacy and the legal status of de facto relationships and civil unions.”

Though the press release only implicitly references same-sex adoption, Ardern confirmed to me in a tweet that it would be the case. Continue reading