Up Front by Emma Hart


In Committee

I could really get to like this Select Committee thing. I'm not wearing shoes, and better yet, nobody's in the slightest bit concerned about my phone. Which is excellent, because: 

@Simonpnz Hey, y'all, @Ghetsuhm is live-tweeting a #MarriageEquality committee hearing. Best entertainment on the web

 I'm here with my partner. He really wanted to come, despite being just a few days out of hospital after an Unexpected Appendectomy. I was very happy for him to be here, because he drove. 

At the committee. Something about unnatural lusts. This might be more fun than I'd expected. 

You can tell just by looking at them which side people are submitting on. Weirdly, it becomes clear that all the antis are sitting on the left side of the room, which coincidentally is the same side the National MPs are sitting on. We're over on the right side, with the Young People, and the women cuddling. And twice as many seats. And not This Guy. 

And this nice man will let us use the word "gayrriage". 

@lilith_grace @Ghetsuhm is that where we keep our cars? #gayrriage

He was SERIOUS. I shit you not. He'd put a great deal of effort into trying to come up with a word we could be allowed to use, without getting Gay Cooties all over his precious "marriage", and that was the result. Gayrriage. 

@xenomonkey At the select committee hearing. A real eye opener to the bigotry that exists in NZ #iliveinabubble

I don't know how he was typing with my head buried in his lap to muffle the Rage. 

"Those of us who have been married know what it's all about." Oh, Old Bigot, you're adorable

Yeah, stupid young people and their lack of Relevant Life Experience. Silly children, not realising that... oh crap, I've stopped listening. Ruth has told him his time is up. And... wow. Mr Mature Perspective has thrown a MASSIVE hissy fit, and suggested that she's lying and she gave the Pro Guys more time. Man. She can really lay a Smack Down. That's my MP. I'm quite proud. Yeah, dude. Your time is up. See what I did there?

Oh hey, I'm up. 

Okay, I think that went well. Got questions from both sides

 ‏@badtom @Ghetsuhm Taking it from both sides? Not like you at all!

Pretty sure I could actually kill some people in this room with that tweet.

So I speak on my submission, and get follow-up questions from Kevin Hague and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi. The latter is perfectly polite and accidentally gives me the perfect opening to talk about the social and institutional ways civil unions are treated as second-class. Cheers, dude, that was awesome. 

Sara Epperson speaks, gets a round of spontaneous applause when she's done. Fuck me, but she was brilliant. Though actually, yeah, civil unions can be plenty romantic, thanks. Still. Hope you get to be that bride, Sara. 

Oh! Homosexual Agenda Lady!

I was a bit suspicious when she got up and turned round and thanked us all for the conversation and shit. Because, y'know, Fuck Nice People. And then she started talking. Oh! This is about how that guy who runs the Gays wrote that thing about how we should all pretend we just wanted to be treated like Human Beings as a "trick", this is really familiar... Whose Talking Points are these, Colin Craig's or Bob McCoskrie's? I can't remember. But I've read this article, and aw, she's just so concerned about what's really going on, and What About the Children? 

Ugh. Think I might be sick. 

Oo! I'm not fit to raise my children bingo!

Because, yeah. Gay people just hatch from pods. All children are straight. Why does nobody ever Think of the Gay Children? I'm really starting to wish we'd all brought our copies of the Gay Agenda with us. Maybe we should gather together in little clumps, whispering and making significant gestures. 

Ruth Dyson has just warned her about being offensive. Massive bonus points for being prepared to call out someone who is just Being So Nice, and So Reasonable. 

I just did that whole indignant head-toss thing and slammed my skull into the wooden ledge right behind me. Best remember that's there for next time. 

And now there's a Presbyterian minister dishonouring my mother's memory.  #speakforyourself

Actually, dude, "your church" is deeply divided on this issue. If my mother, who was a Presbyterian elder, was still alive she'd be here with me right now, and she would give you the Full Fucking Eye-Roll. 

Ow. Stupid ledge. 

Heh. Kevin Hague is taking this jerk to pieces.

 ‏@Simonpnz @Ghetsuhm would you say @KevinHague is charging the heavy air with emotion? Humiliating the submitter perhaps?

I'm very disappointed he hasn't thrown any furniture yet.

And then we got to The Guy of the Morning. At first we kind of thought starting his time with a waiata was a bit odd, but by the time he was thumping the table we were all looking back on the singing with fond nostalgia. 

Dear Douchebag, Being denied my "right" to my father was awesome, and probably saved a life.

 "I'm not here to be judgemental as such, but..."

Wow. This is... I am struggling. I look over at the guys who spoke so brilliantly on behalf of OUSA before and, like me, they're both shaking with silent laughter. I've made a little snorty noise. Which to be honest isn't as bad as when I did that *bullshit* cough before. Sorry, dude, but you know approximately Jack Shit about anthropology. 

I want a little sign that says, "Citation needed" to hold up. Although my arm would get tired



Seriously, though, the whole experience was brilliant. And down here, we'll take all the democracy we can get, which isn't very much. Hague and Dyson were brilliant, as I expected, but I was really impressed with Chris Auchinvole. He was warm and engaged with the submitters, and asked questions with genuine interest. Eric Roy didn't speak all morning. Kevin Hague came down and spoke to us in the cafe afterwards. In search of food, he got as far as the next table before someone else stopped him to tell him how brilliant he was. 

And Hague was optimistic. They have one more day of hearings to do in Wellington, and then they're preparing their report. I got the impression that the whole committee has agreed to push the process through and ensure it doesn't get bogged down. They had clearly already reached some decisions, and those decisions indicate that their overall recommendation is that the Bill should proceed. 

I'm laying in some booze, people. We're going to get this. 

      Emma Hart is the author of the book 'Not Safe For Work'. (Click here to find out more)

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