MPs reluctant to commit on gay marriage

NZ Newswire 27 July 2012
Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Shearer have confirmed they will support the gay marriage bill on its first reading, but most MPs are keeping their views to themselves. Only the Green Party has decided all its 14 MPs will support the bill, while National and Labour will let their members cast conscience votes without any instructions. Some MPs and ministers were saying on Thursday they wanted to see the bill – which is a very simple piece of legislation – while others told reporters they hadn’t yet thought about gay marriage… The only similar legislation that has been debated and voted on in parliament is the Civil Union Act, which was passed by 65 votes to 55 in 2004. Of those 120 MPs, only 31 are still in parliament.

What MPs think of gay marriage – extended footage
3 news 26 July 2012—extended-footage/tabid/1607/articleID/262771/Default.aspx

Gay right to wed ‘not special, just equal’
Christchurch Press 27 July 2012
After 10 years together, one Christchurch couple have never considered marriage – because they have never had the right to. However, new legislation could open the way for Craig Johnstone, 46, and Brad Howlett, 43, to tie the knot, along with hundreds of other homosexual couples in New Zealand. A private member’s bill to allow same-sex couples to marry was drawn from a ballot yesterday and will be debated by Parliament, potentially as early as next month. Johnstone and Howlett believed legalising gay and lesbian marriages would be the “last great hurdle” for equal rights. “Once marriage comes in, we have beaten the prejudice. There is nothing else the liberation movement has to aim for,” Johnstone said

…However, a stalwart of the gay community said the “average gay guy couldn’t give a toss” about legalising same sex marriages. Bruce Williamson, who has run gay nightclubs in Christchurch since the early 1980s, was “not even remotely interested in the issue”. “The average gay guy couldn’t care less about anything that resembles the institution of conventional heterosexual marriage,” he said. “It has no relevance to their lives. The majority couldn’t give a toss about it and I have no idea why people are obsessing over it.” The drawing of the bill was a “non-event” for Williamson, and he said many people in the gay and lesbian community were asking “why we are discussing it” via online blogs and forums. He believed the controversial issue was “being driven by only a few people who enjoy a good bandwagon to climb on”, but the issue of same-sex marriages was not a “common topic of conversation” in Christchurch’s gay community. “I don’t need validity of any relationship I am in, and in my experience others feel the same way. People couldn’t care less about it,” he said.