The Government Administration Select Committee has called for submissions on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.
Submissions are due by 26 October 2012.
This is the only time that the general public will have an opportunity to comment on this Bill, so if you want to have your voice heard, you need to make a submission to the Select Committee before the deadline.
To make a submission, click on this link, which will open the Parliamentary website and follow these steps:
Complete the verification step.
Provide your contact details.
Either upload a submission that you have written, or make your submission on the electronic form provided (there’s more information on this crucial step below).
Indicate whether you do or don’t want to appear before the Select Committee.
If you have a special requirement (such as wanting to give evidence in private), provide any relevant information to the staff of the Select Committee.
Click the SUBMIT button.
The tricky part, of course, is working out what you want to say in your submission. There are three key things that you need to do in your submission:
Tell the Select Committee why you’re writing to them – you need to specifically state that you are writing in support of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.
Tell the Select Committee why you support the Bill. Many people support the Bill for one or more of the following reasons:
- Marriage licences are granted by the state, and there’s no justification for the state to treat same sex relationships differently than heterosexual relationships.
- Gay people have the same legal responsibilities as straight people, and consequently should have the same legal rights.
- Marriage equality is appropriate in a mature, modern, tolerant and inclusive society.
- Being denied access to marriage sends the message that same sex relationships, and the people in them, aren’t good enough. That’s a destructive message for gay people (and particularly young gay people) and their families. Even if civil unions conveyed exactly the same legal rights as marriage (and they don’t), the use of a different term implies that same sex relationships are inferior.
- Access to marriage recognises that gay people enter into long-term, stable, loving and committed relationships in the same way as straight people do.
Provide your personal story – for example, tell the Select Committee if you:
- Are in a committed same sex relationship and want the opportunity to marry.
- Have a gay brother and want to be his best man, because you’ve always been best mates and he was your best man.
- Are a grandparent and want to see your first grandchild get married, in the same way as you’ve seen your other grandchildren get married.
- Have a best friend that you’ve been friends with since childhood, she was your bridesmaid and you want to be her matron of honour, because you know she loves her partner as much as you love your husband.
- Are close friends with a same sex couple and don’t understand why they don’t have exactly the same legal rights as you do.
- Have two children and are saddened that one child has fewer legal rights than the other child.
You don’t have to write a lot, but your personal story will really help the Select Committee understand the profoundly positive impact that passing the Bill will have on the everyday lives of a range of ordinary Kiwis.
After you’ve made a submission, please ask members of your family and your friends to also make a submission. Remember, this is the one opportunity for the public to make their voices heard on the Bill and we want the Select Committee to understand how much support there is for the Bill.
Submissions can also be made through this website.