The MP behind a law change to legalise gay marriage has
slammed the "dishonest" argument by opponents that her bill
will pave the way to polygamous relationships.
Labour Party MP Louisa Wall said she was frustrated by the
more extreme arguments against her bill, which had prompted
her to release research showing that no country had legalised
polygamous relationships after legalising gay marriage.
Ms Wall said the argument that allowing same-sex marriage
would be a stepping stone to multiple partners was
undermining an otherwise civilised and principled debate.
"Everyone has built an opposition based on a belief or a
value ... but for some to purposefully mislead not only the
public, but to also scaremonger, is fundamentally dishonest,"
The concern about creating a "slippery slope" to polygamy was
raised at the first reading of the bill by National MP for
Wairarapa John Hayes, and has been echoed by submitters to
the select committee considering the legislation, in
particular the lobby group Family First.
Family First founder Bob McCoskrie said he believed
legalising polygamy was "on the long-term agenda".
"If you say that any adults who love each other should not be
discriminated against then why limit it to sexuality, why not
Ms Wall provided research to the Herald which showed that all
of the 11 countries that have legalised gay marriage have
None of the 50 countries that recognised polygamy under civil
law formally recognised same-sex relationships.
Ms Wall said that in most cases, polygamy was legal in
countries that repressed women, not socially progressive
countries like New Zealand.
"You have countries where you can be whipped, fined, flogged,
sent to jail for the rest of your life [for being in a gay
relationship] so to say that marriage equality is a stepping
stone to polygamy completely misrepresents the truth
Asked to respond to Ms Wall's research, Mr McCoskrie said he
acknowledged that no countries had legalised same-sex
marriage then polygamy, but he felt it was "just a matter of
He pointed to government reports in Canada - where gay
marriage was legal - which recommended the decriminalisation
of polygamy, partly to attract skilled immigrants from
countries which allowed multiple partners.
Ms Wall has been highly active in her attempt to quell
concerns about her private member's bill.
The MP held forums with Pacific Island churches in South
Auckland after some ministers believed they would be forced
to marry gay couples if the bill passed.
The select committee considering the bill was likely to make
an amendment to make it explicit that churches would retain
their freedom of religion and expression.
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald