The select committee hearings on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill began today, with Louisa Wall presenting the first oral submission in support of the bill.
“My message to the committee and to New Zealanders today was simple – marriage equality is about fairness and choice. It is about recognising that all couples, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve equality under the law and equal access to the social and civil institution of marriage,” says Wall.
“We now have an opportunity to have a comprehensive debate about marriage equality. In my introductory submission I chose to debunk some of the arguments put forward in the past few months and to draw attention to the key drivers behind this legislation.
“Fundamentally, this issue is about human rights and highlighting the principles of equality and non-discrimination with consenting adults being able to obtain a marriage licence from the State as equal citizens. How, who and where consenting couples marry is a private matter and my Bill is not concerned with these decisions.
“I reiterated today that churches have nothing to fear from marriage equality. There is no obligation on them to marry any couple against their wishes. Marriage equality has drawn broad-based support form a cross-section of New Zealanders and across the political spectrum.
“Today’s select committee session was a robust example of democracy in action. I am confident the committee will ensure a constructive, respectful environment for all submitters. I look forward to the debate ahead.”
The New Zealand Campaign for Marriage Equality welcomes the start of the select committee hearings and looks forward to the process getting underway.
“This Bill will improve the lives of thousands of New Zealanders, from many different family backgrounds. New Zealander’s know that marriage is about love, it’s about strengthening families, and it’s about treating all New Zealander’s fairly and equally; no matter who they are,” says Auckland Spokesperson, Jeremy Lambert.
The campaign congratulates Wall for her hard work and appreciates her dedication to the cause, with Lambert saying. “It’s fantastic to see Louisa being given the opportunity to open the oral submission process. This is important recognition for a person who has championed marriage equality so passionately and courageously.”
Prior to submissions closing the campaign worked hard to ensure that every New Zealander had a chance to formally have thier say.
Thousands of submissions will now be heard by the Government and Administration Select Committee.
| Sarah Murphy