It’s very likely that New Zealand will pass a gay marriage amendment in the very near future and edit out gender-specific wording from their current marriage act, but now the churches are yelling and screaming at the last moment, not just to stop the amendment from going through, but to protest what they foresee as discrimination against their anti-gay sentiments after the amendment is passed.
Well that’s a new one.
The amendment, called Louisa Wall’s Marriage Bill, is a shoe-in for passage and even though the religious desperately want the bill defeated, at the very least, if it passes, they want legislature added to protect anti-gay crusaders from being criticized as they continue to harp gay hate down the line.
Chief among their fears are that teachers are going to be dismissed or disciplined for telling schoolchildren that gays are evil sinners and will burn in the fires of hell. Um, why shouldn’t they be disciplined for doing something so utterly idiotic? Schools are for teaching kids facts, not for indoctrinating a teacher’s opinion. I don’t think that schools and other places of employment should be open to talking about whatever the hell you want without consequence anyhow. An employer, and that includes the state, ought to be able to set guidelines about what can be talked about around customers, and children in this example are customers, and what cannot. It is not a democracy. That’s not to say that the teacher isn’t free to say whatever they want to say outside of the school setting, they have just as much right to free speech, presumably since I don’t know New Zealand’s laws, as anyone else does. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.
But I don’t think anyone should have their opinions enshrined as protected under the law. Speech, like any other action, can potentially have consequences. That’s really what these people are trying to avoid, the swell of public opinion turning against them. They don’t want their hate-filled speech to be shouted down, they don’t want to suffer public derision because the majority of the nation doesn’t agree. They want to have their cake and eat it too, even after the country voted to have pie.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think they shouldn’t have the exact same rights as everyone else, if they want to discuss their unhappiness with gay marriage in any amenable group at a socially acceptable time, more power to them. However, the idea that their own little hate-brigade should corner the market on law-endorsed hate speech is pretty absurd. What’s next, the racists want their speech individually protected by law too? The women-haters are next? Where does it end? The fact is, the anti-gay crusaders fought the good fight and lost. It’s time to take their lumps and move on. Unfortunately, we all know they won’t, they’ll just keep railing against the new law and keep pushing their luck in order to get increased publicity. They just don’t want to face any consequences for their actions.
That’s where we part company.