Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bob’s big lie

On Monday, I wrote about how the only public opponent of marriage equality in New Zealand was issuing PR spin again. Turns out, it was the launch of his latest big lie.

Bob McCoskrie issues press releases and conducts his anti-gay activism under the brands Family [sic] First NZ and Protect [sic] Marriage NZ. In my blog post, I said, “…today he again dredged up his dumbest argument, that marriage equality ‘must’ lead to a slippery slope (cue screams of terror)”. I said “again” because he’s been making the same silly claim for months.

Today, he ramped it up a notch, putting out a press release with what he claimed is “Evidence That Polygamy And Polyamory Will Be Next”. So, I had a look at the supposed “evidence”, and it turned out he’s been touting much of it since the beginning. Nevertheless, fair-minded fellow that I am, I decided to have an in-depth look, going back to his original sources.

Ah, sources—the first problem. Many of them were extremely dubious, with linked sources including Bob’s own earlier posts, rightwing publications of various sorts (all of whom oppose marriage equality), and things that are not available on the web, so cannot be fact-checked. Nevertheless, from what I was able to access, his “evidence” consisted entirely of things that were completely irrelevant (like saying that legal polygamous marriages from overseas needed to be recognised for some purposes, chiefly dealing with family courts and the like), or they were the free speech of people—including in at least one case, a heterosexual fundamentalist Christian—expressing their own opinions (a bit like Bob does all the time, actually).

Put another way, NONE of Bob’s “evidence” supports his claim that polygamy is “next”—let me say that again NONE of Bob’s “evidence” supported his claim.

There is, however, evidence that is real, verifiable, true and relevant: Louisa Wall, sponsor of the marriage equality bill in Parliament, pointed out that in the 50 countries in the world where polygamy is legal, NOT ONE has ANY relationship recognition for same-gender couples. In fact, 37 of those 50 countries criminalise homosexuality, including some with life in prison or even death sentences!

On the other hand, of the eleven countries and 9 US States (plus the District of Columbia) where same-gender couples can legally marry, NOT ONE allows polygamy: Polygamy is illegal in ALL places where same-gender couples can legally marry.

So, the real evidence is clear: Marriage equality allows same-gender couples to make the same commitment and accept the same responsibilities in marriage as opposite-gender couples can, and that’s all! Polygamy is NOT “next” (and in, fact, is a crime in New Zealand as it is in most Western countries).

Bob has no rational, secular argument to make against marriage equality, so he constantly uses lies, distortions and fear, instead. His “slippery slope” argument is fear-mongering at its most vile and prejudiced. New Zealanders deserve better than to have a self-styled advocate for families use such deception and appeals to prejudice in his political campaigns.

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