Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Marriage equality talk at university of Auckland 24th August 2012

(Apologies for the lateness of this being posted, I've been sick.)

I left Louisa Wall’s talk at the University of Auckland with some serious warm fuzzies. Within the room there had been a myriad of people, religions, and ages, all united in one single cause. The cessation of separation of human rights related to gender and sexuality.
Had we all gone to a café after and tried to have a conversation about any other topic, we would have struggled to include everyone without some serious bickering but in marriage equality, we were united.

Louisa spoke passionately and without notes. She spoke of her personal history, the history of rainbow rights in NZ and around the world, and she spoke about what this bill will mean.

If you want to hear the basics from her mouth, take a look at her speach today at parliament house.

If you would like to hear a more in depth discussion about what the bill means to NZ, including a very clear discussion on what it will mean for NZ churches (spoiler alert – NOTHING), take a peek here.

If you want to watch Colin Craig get OWNED on public television, check this out. *snort*

I’m just briefly going to give an insight into the questions session of the day, because that is the one thing you won’t see elsewhere.

In the questions.

A woman stepped forward and spoke about marrying into an interracial relationship only one year after Loving vs Virginia, and the hate that continued after that point.
She and her daughter pointed out the similarities in argument the social right use against gay marriage and against mixed race marriage. The fact we have grown past the latter, doesn’t mean the stupid arguments wont be re-used to hurt a new minority group.
They spoke of evolution and the fact both sides survived the revolution and they will both survive this one, but we need to ignore the bigots and keep fighting for what is right.

Aaron raised the fact that the media, and this includes the rainbow media, keeps calling the bill the “gay marriage bill”, the frustration was evident from his passion, when speaking about the fact that trans people are even more marginalised than the cis-gay community.
Louisa spoke compassionately to this point and clarified that this is why this is the bill is called the “definition of marriage amendment bill”.
She got a laugh from the group when she said
“this bill couldn’t BE ANY STRAIGHTER” and I know it wasn’t just me that choked up when she followed on
“It isn’t about being gay, or straight, or what your gender identity, it’s about being EQUAL.”
Section 32 will be highlighted when she speaks on Wednesday, and I for one will be watching.

Soraiya Daud stood “It’s been a long time since I sat in a room and been moved by a labour mp, and I’m IN the labour party.” Cue raucous laughter from the room!
“I hope that you can be an example to the rest of our MPs”

Finally Nathan, a Christian who has recently joined the salvation army stood up. He had a loud voice and after overhearing conversations from before we started I was terrified of what he was going to say. So much positivity was bouncing around the room, and I was so scared we were going to end on a downer.
He told a story about a Friend who texted him- “I’m gay, does Jesus love me?”
He said he thought about it, and said “Jesus does love you because you are made in his image”. He quoted “Come now for it is time to worship, come as you are.”
He said that his friend replied
“Thank you, I was on the edge of a bridge, and I have gotten off”
The room audibly sighed. To hear of people working within organisations who are in support of this cause was wonderful, and someone in the crowd shouted "Kia-Ora Nathan”.
He Pointed out that there ARE Christians out there who agree, but want to work within their groups, churches, leadership, they want to make their own boundaries.
Louisa nodded in agreement, and reiterated her points about the fact that this bill doesn’t change what the church can or has to do.
“Churches continue to be able to discriminate based on religious belief.”
What this bill will do is open bigger spaces for churches to have their own discussions, and this is already happening.

The discussion was thrilling, and I think most people wished they could raise their hand just to shout THANK YOU, but there wasn’t enough time.

I was there because the Marriage equality bill is in front of parliament Wednesday the 29th August.
I sincerely hope that this law is changed through this process. Partly because I honestly can’t see why it hasn’t been already, and partly because I don’t want any future generations to have to fight this rubbish. We should be raising our young people in spaces safe for all genders and sexualities. People should feel safe as they are, with who they love.
So as a person who feels passionately about this bill, and hopes that THIS will be the time for change, I want to soak everything up, be part of it, support those putting themselves out there, enable safe spaces for open conversation and remember this.
Because one day I want to tell my nieces and nephews, or kids, that I was there, I was part of this, I helped the change.
I don’t want to tell them I went out for dinner and don’t remember the specifics.
Because this… this is important people.
Sit up, take notice, write letters, talk to your family, talk to your friends, talk to your leaders, religious groups, community groups. Raise this issue.
Most hate is driven by ignorance, and change is hindered by apathy. So if you think you can’t make a difference, you can. 
It will be our generation who makes the difference, because WE are the ones who overwhelmingly support this bill. It is us who needs to raise its profile and put a loving face on the front of it.
Go to it people.


CF said...

Your automatic prejudice against the young Christian man is very disappointing. Yes there are some very vocal Christians out there who are against marriage equality, and I apologise for the hatred they profess and the offense they cause. However is is unfair to judge all Christians because of the way a few act. I thought that this blog was in favour of opposing prejudices that minorities face. I am often put off by some feminists out there as I know as soon as I tell them I am a Christian what their reaction will be, without them even bothering to get to know me they will automatically "stereotype" me and write me off. This is illustrated in your own reactions when the Christian man got up to speak.

Scuba Nurse said...

Hi CF, Thank you for commenting, and I’m sorry you find it hard to cope with being stereotyped. I’m pretty sure people who identify as 'feminist' can sympathise, let alone those in the rainbow community.
To be honest, it wasn’t his christianity, it was the salvation army aspect.
He spoke loudly before we started about wanting to wear his uniform but being worried about having "fruit thrown at him" and I got off on the wrong foot since he obviously identified himself as "other" in the room rather than part of the movement for change.
Also the Salvation Army not only does not support rainbow rights, but actively funds those bullshit camps where you can go and "fix" your gayness.
So yes, I am absolutely on the defensive when someone from the Salvation Army comes to an event like this and wants to represent his church.
I will not apologise for this until there is some kind of fairly massive change from within that organisation, and I don’t think that assuming someone isn’t safe to me, based on the fact they are happy to identify as part of a bigoted organisation who funds hate groups is totally unreasonable.