Friday, June 25, 2004

Post-vote thoughts

The Herald has a list of the ayes and nays on the Civil Unions Bill here.

People have commented that it looks grim; the prostitution bill got 86 votes on its first reading, and only passed by one, so if this has the same degree of falloff it will fail. Fortunately I think the core support is harder here - there probably won't be that many Labour MPs who are going to switch sides, and that plus the core liberal support from the Greens and Progressive Coalition gives a solid base of at least 50 votes to work from (plus probably 4 from ACT). The swingers are likely to be those 2 NZFirst and 5 National MPs, plus ACT's Stephen Franks and Gerry Eckhoff (who voted against prostitution refom, remember). These are the people to target.

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to see that ACT are acting more like a liberal party, and that Stephen Franks' illiberal attitude towards prostitution and flag-burning doesn't seem to extend to civil unions. But why the hell are Deborah Coddington and Muriel Newman even in the party? This is a matter of fundamental freedom and equality - the freedom to choose who you spend your life with, and to live with them free from unjustified discrimination from the state. It's also about people's freedom to choose their own social arrangements, rather than being subjected to government "social engineering". How can a member of ACT - a party which brands itself as the "party of freedom", and which ails constantly against "social engineering" - possibly oppose that?

I'm also pleased to see that Don Brash stuck to his principles and voted "for". I'm not fond of him, but at least he's a social liberal. Unlike most of the rest of his party. Jesus, where do they get those knuckle-draggers from? If we needed proof that National needed new blood so it could catch up with the rest of us and join the 21st century, we just got it today.

As for other opponents of the bill, I think that the bigotry and hatred displayed during the debate neatly proves Metiria Turei's point. When people start describing extending equality to others as an "abomination" or talking about the Imminent Demise Of Society As We Know It, then you know you're dealing with bigots and homophobes.

Other comments: Big News, David Farrar, Justleft, KiwPundit.