Louisa Wall highlighted the fact that “same-sex marriage between men was not uncommon in the days of the Roman emperor Nero”, in her First Reading speech (ref. 1) in parliament in support of her private member’s bill – the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. She put forward the erroneous argument that because “the civil and social institution of marriage” had [allegedly] “changed dramatically” over the period “pre-dat[ing] government and Christianity” and leading up to the present-day, as illustrated by the legalisation of homosexual marriage in Rome in the time of Nero, New Zealand MPs should therefore support her bill and embrace homosexual marriage. Then she made the claim that for opponents of her bill to “even raise such concerns” as “polygamy, bigamy, bestiality and incest … within the context of discussion about marriage equality” [i.e. homosexual “marriage”] was “insulting” to her and those championing her bill, because such practices constituted “criminal offences” under current NZ law.
One MP who voted in support of her bill at its first and second readings was National MP the Hon. Maurice Williamson. Never one to be outdone in espousing a libertarian argument he said, “I don’t care if someone wants to marry their dog as long as they don’t do it on the front lawn” (ref. 2). Such flippancy from a bill supporter – involving an ‘argument’ based on reductio ad absurdum – and relying on the ‘linking’ of homosexual sex/”marriage” with bestiality – is illustrative of the libertarian attitude of a number of other MPs supporting the bill. For them, limiting marriage to one man and one woman makes little sense, adults should be entitled in their view to form whatever intimate relationships they want involving sexual activity, and have them recognised in law.
Some MPs opposing the bill have highlighted polygamy, bigamy etc, just as Williamson has done with bestiality, not to be flippant like him, but rather to seek to raise the serious and genuine question as to where a line should be drawn, if at all, to limit the definition of marriage. Williamson just doesn’t seem to care where the line should be drawn, as long as consenting adults confine their activities to the privacy of their own homes. Such an attitude disregards, or at best makes light of serious considerations of the relationship between adults and their offspring and/or adoptive children. It also takes no account of public health issues around sexual promiscuity and/or unsafe sex practices.
For opponents of the bill, who do care, the line starts and finishes with the one man – one woman definition of marriage. There are clearly no reasonable grounds for claiming that their references to bigamy and polygamy in the course of advancing their case against the bill, are “insulting” as Louisa Wall claims. Wall’s supporters regularly vilify the bill’s opponents as “homophobes”, “gay-bashers” and “gay-haters”. Then employing the “victim – mentality syndrome” seek to shut down all legitimate debate over the bill, by claiming that opponents are “insulting” them, when in fact the latter are involved in legitimate debate involving reasoned arguments.
Over 70 MPs have now been persuaded by the types of banal and perverse arguments Louisa Wall has used (above) to support her bill that if passed would bring New Zealand into line with homosexual ‘marriage’ practices legalised under Nero in Rome.
Ref. 1. Hansard Record. Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill — First Reading. Sitting date: 29 August 2012. Speech by Louisa Wall (Labour—Manurewa). Volume: 683; Page:4913. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.
Ref. 2 Same-sex union debate no marriage made in heaven. By Dan Dolejs
Nelson Mail. 25 March 2013.