Friday, August 13, 2004

rights, rights, right?

A couple has told the select committee hearing the civil union bill that gay couples have fewer rights than immigrants, and they have fewer rights than murderer Scott Watson, who married in prison.

And you know, John Jollife and Des Smith - who happen to be good friends and former neighbours - are right. That’s because our Human Rights legislation, in terms of couples, only extends to married couples - the rest of the legislation concerns individuals and minorities.

If you compare legislation for couples with legislation for individuals, of course you are going to get discrepancies. If Scott Watson wanted to marry a male in prison, he wouldn’t be able to, just like he wouldn’t be able to marry a married person.

In terms of human rights, the civil union bill is not about marriage, it is about whether the government wants to extend the legislation to embrace couples other than married ones.

But then, this debate is not just about human rights, either. It is gay marriage by another name, and this is acknowledged by friends on both sides of the issue.

It has emerged that the killer of gay interior designer David McNee had been out of prison for 9 days, working as a prostitute before he killed McNee. Some have said that McNee deserved all he got, as he shouldn’t have put his finger up his killer's anus, particularly as this was not part of the deal. Had he not done so, he may well have been alive to tell the story - but then it wouldn’t have been told.

But what was a 24-year-old man, on probation, doing living on the streets as a prostitute? Didn't he get advice on how to use his steps to freedom cheque?

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