Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bigotry updates

Canada: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. PM Paul Martin announces that the Liberal government will introduce same-sex marriage legislation in Parliament next year, arguing for the "equal treatment of all Canadians".

New Zealand: Parliament approves same-sex civil unions.

Alabama: State representative Gerald Allen proposes a ban on using taxpayer money to purchase books or support art with "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". Despite being unable to distinguish between censorship and traffic signals, Allen will be rewarded with a meeting with Bush.

North Carolina: Will a Christian school in Cary teach that slavery was "based on mutual affection and confidence"? No, but only after massive protest against the revisionist, neo-Confederate drivel.


Blogger finou said...

The NC booklet is really scary. I can't believe people would be ok with having that taught to their kids :(

12/10/2004 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Quark said...

Yeah, the civil union bill was approaching while I was in New Zealand. I got to read letters-to-editor about it. I was amazed that there were irrational bigoted people in New Zealand too. Some of the letters would have been great laughs if it weren't so serious.

(People worried about the population dwindling to zero really crack me up -- besides the fact that providing gay marriage isn't going to change anyone's sex habits anyway, and that gay couples aren't going to stop heterosexuals from having sex, and it's not like we don't have an *over*population *problem*, as if negative population growth were actually a threat. And my brother tells me there was a study that showed that female relatives of male homosexuals are more fertile or have more kids, or something like that? Anyway...)

Some interesting things about New Zealand: Male homosexuality was decriminalized in 1986 with the Homosexual Law Reform Act. And civil union legislation was made possible 11 years ago with the passing of the Human Rights Act of 1993. The act includes five new grounds of discrimination -- disability, political opinion, employment status, family status, and sexual orientation. Two subsequent governments went through the national laws and identified places where discriminiation could still occur ... on family status and sexual orientation. It wasn't until now that something was actually done on the marriage issue. I read somewhere that the civil union bill not only applies to same-sex marriage, but is for anyone who is in a relationship and wants the legal benefits of marriage but does not want to be married or cannot be married. (So it works to limit discrimination of both unmarried couples and gay couples -- though I don't think the unmarried couples issue was really the driving force here.)

An interesting part of the NZ civil union debate was that some people were pushing for a referendum, to let the people decide whether to have such legislation. Most ministers were against a referendum, and that led some people to say "oh, i'm not against civil unions, but i'm upset that the government doesn't trust the people" etc etc. Some minister said something like "look, representatives are elected to lead and make decisions; let us do our job as we always do it."

Don't forget that New Zealand -- the last country to be settled by man -- is also "the first democracy" (I think by that, they mean the first democracy in which all members of the society can vote -- New Zealand having been the first country to given women the right to vote, in 1893). New Zealand also seems to one of only three countries in the world (along with Finland and Sweden) to have a "parity democracy" in which "women and men share equally in the responsibilities of government and administration, parliament and political parties, the judiciary, and the media."

12/11/2004 05:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, First time reader (random surf ;)), first time poster.

Same-sex marriage: All citizens are equal, and in a secularly (supposed) governed state, equal in the eyes of the law. If your personal belief system differs, you are also free to exercise that, within reason (religious beliefs can not be used as an excuse for criminal behaviour). 'Bout right.

North Carolina: What's next? "The Native Americans were tired of keeping the West clean, so they moved into reservations, which are smaller and have less stuff in them. The settlers saw open space, and an opportunity to clean house. Everyone lived happily ever after."

Most powerful nation on the planet is teaching some of its children crap. Think gay marriage is scary?

panic -

12/11/2004 06:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thought - if the teachings are about how the South felt about slavery, that is a perspective worth noting. The justifications in the pamphlet should be questioned obviously eg. some slaves live better, and have easier lives than some poor whites - probably true. Some prison inmates live better than the poor, but they are still PRISONERS. Limited freedoms. If prison was so much better for some, there would be a lot more crime.

Ok, my 2 cents are up. Thanks :).

12/11/2004 06:16:00 AM  

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