Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Up-Front Guides: The Weasel Translator

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  • Emma Hart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    "please don't make the poor petal's martyr complex any bigger".

    Yeah, I agree, and this is where I diverge from a few close friends and allies. If "we" play dirty on "them", all we actually do is get them sympathy. The people who were signing their petition "J. Iscariot", etc, now that's a great protest. It makes them look ridiculous without actually damaging them in any way they could complain about.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Emma Hart,

    No. They're already not forced to enact opposite-sex marriage ceremonies they disapprove of - ie the Catholic church is allowed to refuse to marry non-Catholics.

    Actually, they are forced to conduct them, thanks to ss3(b) and 19 of the BORA, and the civil nature of marriage in New Zealand. Any marriage celebrant who refuses to solemnise the marriage of a non-Catholic is unlawfully discriminating on the basis of religion, and any marriage celebrant who refuses to solemnise the marriage of someone who has been previously divorced is unlawfully discriminating on the basis of family status. If that celebrant is a Catholic priest (and Catholic priests are celebrants by default for historical reasons), then they're effectively writing a large cheque on behalf of the Pope.

    The reason that the Pope hasn't had to sign any such cheques yet is because people strongly prefer a celebrant who wants to marry them, rather than one who will ruin their happy day, so it doesn't come up. But its always an option if one wants to teach the bigots an object lesson.

    This isn't new. Religion lost this battle in the C19th sometime, when we passed civil marriage and made them agents of the state in solemnising it.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Doesn’t really help

    Damn, point taken, isn't there something we can do about this freedom of speech thing!
    All the wrong people are talking....
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Damn, point taken, isn’t there something we can do about this freedom of speech thing!
    All the wrong people are talking….

    Yup - but if defending unpopular or downright distasteful speech was easy, everybody would be doing it. Sorry if this sounds a tad pompous, but we have to be better than our foes, because we are. I want to beat the fuckers by being smarter, working harder, going out and changing people's minds with solid arguments. Not by engaging in, let's be blunt, cyber-harassment and intimidation.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    Any marriage celebrant who refuses to solemnise the marriage of a non-Catholic is unlawfully discriminating on the basis of religion

    That's the civil function, though, right? From a religious point of view, marriage is a sacrament, and the state can no more dictate whom they administer that it to than they can Last Rites.

    And the sacrament should be the only thing the churches are worried about. But that would mean admitting that it has no legal status whatsoever, that "marriage" is just the bit where you sign the piece of paper. The rest is a "wedding". Churches do weddings.

    So, a Catholic priest or an Anglican minister can say, "No, we're not going to bless your union with our sacrament, in our church." But currently that person is also, automatically, a civil celebrant. And in that capacity, they can't refuse to perform the state function (witnessing the marriage certificate) on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    "marriage" is just the bit where you sign the piece of paper. The rest is a "wedding". Churches do weddings.

    Loving this succinct precis.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Emma Hart,

    That's the civil function, though, right?

    Yes. Which is what marriage is in this country.

    From a religious point of view, marriage is a sacrament, and the state can no more dictate whom they administer that it to than they can Last Rites.

    And the sacrament should be the only thing the churches are worried about.

    I agree entirely. Sadly, some religious institutions don't. But of they keep conflating the civil legal public function of marriage celebrants with their quack, then they're eventually going to get burned, and burned badly.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Last Rites

    I have a dream...
    ...in which John Key
    and his Government
    are the Last Rights
    (in power at least...)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    So, a Catholic priest or an Anglican minister can say, “No, we’re not going to bless your union with our sacrament, in our church.” But currently that person is also, automatically, a civil celebrant. And in that capacity, they can’t refuse to perform the state function (witnessing the marriage certificate) on the basis of sexual orientation.

    They can't, but saying "we're not going to do it in our church" - for whatever reason - effectively does that. That's where people like me come in.

    The marriage rites are very different to the requirements for a civil ceremony - which requires very little in the way of actual official stuff.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Stewart,

    “marriage” is just the bit where you sign the piece of paper. The rest is a “wedding”. Churches do weddings.

    Loving this succinct precis.

    I have a family friend who got married in a hurry for reasons of convenience to the woman he was happily unmarried to. He arranged the licence and turned up in his best (and only) suit to the registry office and all was smiles until the official said, “Now, if you have the ring…”

    He’d forgotten a ring was expected. Neither he nor his bride cared, and decades later, after joyously raising a whole tribe of rugrats, they are still ringless.

    I think people can put too much emphasis on the ritual and the trappings.

    Whatever makes you happy, eh? Marriage and other committed relationships come in so many varieties. And I look forward to gay weddings bringing a little more diversity and creativity to the traditional rituals.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Religious authority can doctrinally disapprove of all sorts of things from inter-racial dating over a shellfish dinner to usury. Whether than means civil law should follow suit is quite a different matter entirely - except when it comes to civil marriage, apparently.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    I think marriage, along with our head of state also being head of the C of E, is one area in which religion is still a bit too entangled in the state. I'm sure I've said it before, but I like the French and Chinese* approach where the civil ceremony is entirely separate from any religious or cultural ceremonies. I liked going to the registry office and filling out the forms and then being legal, then almost a year later having a basically Chinese wedding with a few NZ Christian elements mixed in for my family.

    Well, basically I like the idea of a fully secular, tolerant state.

    *Although China falls way, way behind when it comes to recognising the rights of anybody who isn't plain, vanilla hetero.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Re the sacrament, I actually had the reverse - got married by a celebrant in a friends restaurant here in NZ, then had the full-noise CoE sacrament in the UK for our second ceremony. Which did everything BUT the civil part as it has already been done here; Dean of that particular Cathedral was quite clear on how separate the State and Church parts are...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    AndNZ First have said they want a referendum. I said some words. But actually, this takes out a few definite 'no' votes. Eight.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It takes out two reported "yes" votes.

    But in some ways I'm glad NZ First has decided to take a party position on this: now we know they're a bigot party, which thinks people's fundamental rights should be subject to the goodwill of others. People should remember that when voting.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    which thinks people's fundamental rights should be subject to the goodwill of others. People should remember that when voting.

    I imagine that's a fair reflection of the beliefs of their supporters.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    To solve some quandaries about religion vis a vis marriage, there is a simple solution: go the German model, and make legal marriage the sole purview of the civil authorities. Sure, do what you want to in your church, if you must, but it's not legal until you make your declaration to the registrar and sign the piece of paper.

    As for Steve's fulminations earlier, I'm also personally against the idea of marriage as a legal concept privileging certain relationship configurations. Particularly in countries like the US where you're even taxed differently. Not to mention its historical purpose (ensuring legitimacy and inheritance for the propertied classes).

    However, we're stuck with it, so the fact that we (queers) remain second-class citizens in this respect makes it worthy to fight for.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Sacha,

    I imagine that's a fair reflection of the beliefs of their supporters.

    Sadly, I agree. Fortunately, demographics will gradually take its course there.

    (And I wonder how they'd fell about a referendum on euthanising at 65. What? Its a matter of fundamental rights, you say? Exactly)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to TracyMac,

    To solve some quandaries about religion vis a vis marriage, there is a simple solution: go the German model, and make legal marriage the sole purview of the civil authorities.

    It already is.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Running to keep up: the report has been amended to say they're voting against, not abstaining. Which makes their "it should be up to The People" stance bullshit.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    I wonder how they'd fell about a referendum on euthanising at 65. What? Its a matter of fundamental rights, you say? Exactly

    You may be misreading which side of that 'right to die' argument they'd be on.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    Fortunately, demographics will gradually take its course there.

    Call me wimpy, but “isn’t it great that older people who disagree with me will die?” isn’t exactly the tack I want to take on this issue.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    Actually, they are forced to conduct them, thanks to ss3(b) and 19 of the BORA,

    But they cannot be forced to conduct an action against their religious beliefs, thanks to section 15.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I wrote about marriage equality for the Dom Post a few months ago: Gay, straight, bi - marriage should be for all.

    Churches and temples and mosques and synagogues have muscled in on the act. Marriages conducted in many religious institutions are recognised as valid for the state's purpose of registering households. When a minister intones his words, he is performing the state function of registering relationships. That gives him and his church power and status as agents of the state. Yet many churches routinely refuse to perform marriage ceremonies for some people, usually the same people the state refuses to allow to be married.

    Churches should not be allowed to perform state marriage ceremonies. They are welcome to perform their own ceremonies, but there is no reason for the state to endorse them. If the Head Prefect of the Assembly of Elf Worshippers wants to conduct wedding ceremonies on midsummer night's eve, then she should go ahead. It just oughtn't to count for the purposes of the state.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    So, a Catholic priest or an Anglican minister can say, "No, we're not going to bless your union with our sacrament, in our church." But currently that person is also, automatically, a civil celebrant. And in that capacity, they can't refuse to perform the state function (witnessing the marriage certificate) on the basis of sexual orientation.

    You might find that the ability of the NZ state to compel people to act against their religious faith is (thankfully) significantly less than I/S presumes. If a Catholic or a Salafist have a religious belief that they cannot perform a marriage that means they can not perform a marriage.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

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