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New Zealand’s Minister of Justice comes out in support of marriage equality and other LGBT rights

Christopher Brocklebank August 21, 2012

The New Zealand Minister of Justice, who previously voted against the country’s civil union legislation, has now come out in favour of marriage equality, same-sex couples adopting and legal recognition of gender identity for trans people.

As reported by GayNZ.com, this is a big volt-face for the Honourable Judith Collins, who once raised the question of whether same-sex unions were a human rights issue at all.

Nearly a decade ago when the Care of Children Act was being debated, Ms Collins stated: “Accepting the diversity of New Zealand families does not mean advocacy for same-sex parenting situations. And it certainly does not mean a same-sex partner should have the same rights as a father.”

On the subject of gender identity, she once said: “there is no need to make any person a protected species.”

However, speaking to GayNZ.com Daily News this week, Ms Collins said that she had “no problem” with marriage equality, “no particular problem” with same-sex couples legally adopting children and in the recognition of respecting gender identities said: “It doesn’t hurt for us to acknowledge people’s diversity – it actually helps us.”

She added: “Frankly it would be really nice if we could look at people as human beings rather than be always saying ‘you can’t do that because you’re gay’ or whatever.”

A private members’ bill on the subject of marriage equality – introduced by openly gay MP Louisa Wall –  is looking to be introduced to the Parliament next week.

Policy around gender identity is still muddied and in need of clarification, and New Zealand’s adoption laws – made in the 1950s – will, it’s generally agreed, be the hardest to bring into the 21st century.

More: GayNZ.com, Judith Collins, Louisa Wall MP, New Zealand, New Zealand

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