Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rory’s story

The video above has been making the Internet rounds today, and it’s not hard to see why: It’s extremely well done. Created by MarriagEquality, an initiative to try and bring about civil marriage in Ireland, the video clearly demonstrates how that country’s limited form of “civil partnerships”, a separate institution unequal to marriage, don’t give gay and lesbian people the same rights that married heterosexual couples receive automatically. This is a common problem in many places.

Here in New Zealand, things are slightly different; hospitals tend to take a somewhat broader view of family, however, marriage equality by itself will not fix the problems outlined in this video. In New Zealand, a gay person who is single may adopt, but a gay couple cannot. In most cases this affects a same-sex partner not being able to adopt the biological child of the other partner, meaning that—as in this video—they’re not “real” family.

New Zealand politicians sometimes make the right noises about fixing this, and even John Key, leader of the conservative National Party, has expressed support for change. But nothing has changed.

So, while New Zealand’s civil unions provide many of the protections that Ireland’s weak “civil partnerships” do not, our antique adoption laws would make the scenario depicted in the video possible here.

This is the twenty-first century: These battles should be over by now. Will the future ever arrive?

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