Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Victory in Massachusetts, but questions at home

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled in favour of allowing gay couples to marry:

"Barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution," the court said, saying state law forbids the creation of second-class citizens.

They've kicked it back to the state legislature, and given them 180 days to bring the law in line with the ruling - after which, they'll have to start issuing marriage licenses.

This is a victory for civil rights, but at the same time it raises the question of why New Zealand is lagging behind on this issue. While the government has announced plans for civil unions, they seem to have sunk without a trace; there's no mention of the legislation on knowledgebasket, and no further mention of it in the press. You'd almost think that the government had got cold feet...

This simply isn't good enough. Marriage rights are an issue of basic equality, and the government should be moving to correct its discrimination ASAP.