Friday, January 14, 2011

Changing the succession?

The Republican Movement has done some detective work (well, keeping an eye on overseas media) and discovered that the New Zealand Government is apparently chairing talks on changing the UK's sexist, bigoted and discriminatory Act of Settlement. The Act enshrines not only male primogeniture, but also C17th anti-Catholicism, banning Catholics or anyone married to a Catholic from ascending to the British throne, and requiring the monarch to be a member of the Church of England (a gross violation of freedom of religion). The UK government has been looking at changing it for a number of years, and gave a status report in the UK House of Lords the other day (scroll to 3:09 pm):

As is known, the previous Administration initiated discussions among Commonwealth countries. Those discussions are proceeding under the chairmanship of the New Zealand Government and we will continue to keep the matter under consideration.
Interestingly, despite this official statement from the UK government, I've been told that the NZ government is denying any such involvement. So, someone is lying to us here. The question is who.

As a republican, I don't really give a rat's arse about succession laws, because they're just another part of an irrelevant institution I want to do away with. But as a liberal, the current laws are simply unacceptable, and need to be changed to bring them into the modern world regardless of whether we remain a monarchy or not.