New Zealand become the 13th country in the world to legalise same sex marriage on April 17, after our Parliament voted 77-44 in favour of the Marriage Amendment Bill.
The Private Member Bill, tabled by Labour MP Louisa Wall, drew widespread debates through talkback shows, television interviews, newspaper articles, letters to the editor and heated opinions on social websites.
Initiated in July 2012, the Bill also attracted criticism from a number of Muslim and Christian groups, saying that it would destroy the institution of marriage.
A major objection of the critics and opponents of this bill was that same sex marriage is unnatural and not advocated by religion.
But what is natural is for people to like one another, and take the big step of deciding to spend the rest of their lives in each other’s company. Should that desire be constrained by parameters of getting attracted to people of the same gender?
Yes, people in same sex marriage will not be able to conceive naturally, but is that not a conscientious decision taken by them?
People claim that same sex marriage will destroy the social fabric of our lives. But is our society so fragile that it will break by the decision of people of similar genders to marry each other?
Further, the notion that same sex marriages will have a bad influence on the young generation appears unfounded. The kind of upbringing, love and care a child receives plays a pivotal part in the kind of person they turn out to be; not whether they had opposite or same sex couples around them.
Religion defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. But religion does not explicitly state that same sex marriage is unethical but holds that the key to any successful marriage is trust and love between couples.
If same sex couples can achieve such trust and love in their marriage, they are following the basics of a successful marriage.
All religions promote happiness, wellbeing and peaceful co-existence of humans. If same sex marriage is helping couples attain these, there cannot be any harm in it.
All people are born different. Judging others is not the best thing to do.
Don’t be judgemental
It is essential to determine where people fit in our lives, and the world around us.
People should be judged on their personal qualities and professional abilities. Demarcation on sexual preferences offers a myopic view in today’s globalised world. So let the passing of this bill be the cornerstone of further enriching our diverse multicultural society, and help eliminate inequalities and prejudices in our lives; thus making for a more egalitarian society.