Jun 26, 2012

Refusing to budge on marriage equality

Hone Harawira is refusing to moderate his stance on marriage equality, or at least that’s how he came across on Radio Rhema (the Christian radio station). In a revealing interview Hone claimed to have never voted for something he didn’t believe in. When questioned on what’ll happen when his personal view clashes with Mana’s view, Hone was unclear.

Well, Hone can’t afford to be unclear. He’s on record as saying that the movement is bigger than he is. This seems to suggest that he’ll follow any decision the party makes. However, saying that you’re unsure what will happen in the event of a clash seems to suggest that Hone’s backing away from his indication to vote according to the party position. Like I said last week, the Maori Party provides an excellent case study what happens when you ignore your members.

I think Hone will have to cave. After all, there isn’t a split within the Mana Party. There is a split between Hone Harawira and the Mana Party. On marriage equality Hone’s view is divorced from the Mana Party’s view. Some Mana members, or Hone apologists, are attempting to write off the issue as unimportant. Others are claiming marriage is not a Maori concept and, therefore, unimportant. This ignores the fact that marriage, although a western concept, is one that the huge majority of Maori adopt. Therefore, Maori are invested in the issue. Furthermore, the Mana Party is more than just a Maori party. It’s a radical party too, in other words an anti-discrimination party, and cannot claim radical status while upholding marriage discrimination.

Most interestingly Hone claimed never to have voted for something he didn’t believe in. This is admirable, but not a practical stance for a leader of a parliamentary party. After all, Hone isn’t in Parliament representing himself – he represents Te Tai Tokerau and the Mana Party. Hone is obligated to follow the party line even if he doesn't agree. Any actions otherwise legitimise the Maori Party's claim that Mana is really the Hone Party.

I support Hone Harawira and I support what the Mana Party stands for, but on marriage equality Hone is being regressive and I don’t support his position or his justifications. Lastly, Hone’s opposition to marriage equality makes this gesture to the gay community look hollow. A cynic would say Hone’s position reaffirms this gesture to Destiny Church.

16 comments:

  1. Marriage is a western concept? News to me!

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  2. Of course marriage was a Maori concept - they had their own processes for allowing or causing males and females to partner together to produce children, and become part of the family community and there would be much discussion between family and iwi on the issue.

    In fact though I am sure some anthropologist may have some exception it is pretty sure that all cultures going back several thousands of years (and potentially humanoid species) had some form of recognising within their community the partnering of males and females to live together and to produce and foster children. We now use the term marriage and we have certain legal definitions around it but the concept plays a large part of why we exist today, from the earliest times of when we started grouping together.

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  3. my hope is that mana would be brave enough to allow each person in the party including hone to have the right to choose a position without being forced - force fed in my very humble opinion is what screws over most groups or organisations including might i add most political parties - why do we all have to conform?? why cant we just understand that sometimes we have different opinions, views, values and so on and these ways however conservative or far out do not make them wrong just DIFFERENT...there are many strong gay men and women in the party who could push the wheel and thats how it should be those who have the ability and potential to move the kaupapa forward should do just that. i dont think it matters what a cynic says - hone has already proved he can walk his talk...but he is also human and i think to expect him to agree to something that he is not sure about in his heart is to ask him to pretend or lie and really he has been up front or honest from day 1. his uncertainty in this instance i suspect is not a hollow look towards the gay community as much as i think it is him being true to his beliefs (which i assume are very conservative) - but at the end of the day the question must be asked do we value him for his honesty and being tika even if it may disappoint upset or even offend or do we expect him to conform and be teka and carry on just like all the other bullshit artists aotearoa calls politicians??

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    1. "why cant we just understand that sometimes we have different opinions, views, values and so on and these ways however conservative or far out do not make them wrong just DIFFERENT"

      Nobody's saying Hone doesn't have a right to hold these views.

      The thing is, we as voters have a right to expect the political parties we vote for to represent our desires. I don't vote for MPs because I want them to be honest, I vote for them because I want them to enact policies.

      If we just allow every person in the party to vote however they want with no consequences it's effectively not a political party and has no business campaigning as one. Would you vote for a party who had that as their slogan? "If you're worried about asset sales, vote for us and we will... do whatever we feel like, I dunno, jeez, are you trying to tell us how to THINK?"

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    2. i think thats the whole problem with this political landscape we have today - its fcked...its doing far from delivering what people want or NEED - creating policies that are nothing more than a ticket to doing whatever you want if you happen to be in the house - because there are not many if any (in the words of scribe) that have been of benefit to real people. more importantly have a good frikin look you two - nothing has worked for the last two decades actually 3, 4 and even 5 decades because the whole democratic system is nonsense (democratic my ass) just giving someone a job of flying around the globe blah blah blah - the whole leadership enterprise has become bigger than ben hur and the realities of human consciousness and need has been binned...when we start having some people in leadership roles who have some humility thats heartfelt instead of continuously recreating robots we might get somewhere as a people and be better humanbeings for it. in laymans terms im saying get back to basics

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    3. With all due respect I think what you're basically saying is a whole bunch of nothing much.

      Do you think Hone Harawira is an example of the sort of leadership you think we need?

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    4. due respect!! gosh get a dictionary mate cos seems to me the only whole bunch of nothing going on here is your hone harawira hating...not constructive - not cool - not worth my time!!

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  4. Being unsupportive towards non heterosexual people doesn’t match up with the Maori struggle for equality – It seems like the same struggle to me maybe I’m wrong is there a difference could someone explain it to me.

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  5. Hone can't pick which human rights he thinks are important and discards others he does not personally like. Human rights are not a pick & mix. In the past"moral conservatism" had been used as an excuse to justify racism, slavery & the oppression of women now it's cop out for Maori bigotry. Our takataapui whanau have rights and are fighting for equality...and "Although conservative Maori nationalists might want to believe otherwise, there is deep interwovenness between struggles for LGBT equality and Maori self-determination." Hone's opposition to marriage equality makes no political sense, who is Hone trying to appeal to in the electorate ? Is it worth alienating urban Maori voter to take a Destiny type bigoted stance against the Marriage equality of GLBTI in our whanau ?

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    1. To be fair to Hone, I'm sure this does represent his authentic personal views, not pandering to some kind of electorate, which as you say isn't really there. But that doesn't make his views any more acceptable.

      I'm starting to think that, for Hone, his commitment to social justice is not really a commitment to social justice in the abstract, it's just a commitment to making sure that he and those close to him aren't oppressed. When the oppression doesn't affect him or anybody in his in-group, he couldn't care less and might even approve of it if it fits his own moral prejudices.

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  6. Exactly what I said but didn't have time to write...lol. Tika tau Maui Street!

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  7. "marriage is not a Maori concept" what rubbish. The writer of this blog is ignorant of Māori culture to have said this. In Māori culture people married, raised children and brought families together as one. in fact it was a very important part of the society (just like most cultures) and like most non-western cultures it was not done the same as we di now in New Zealand under a predominantly western (European) controlled legal system. A lot of today's 'non-marriage' partnerships would have been considered marriages 200 years ago in Aotearoa.

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    1. You've misinterpreted what I said. I'm referring to marriage the institution. The legal construct with its roots in western culture. I'm not referring to marriage practices under tikanga Maori. Of course Maori had marriage practices - practically every culture does. When we use the term marriage in the marriage equality debate the term almost always refers to marriage the western construct.

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  8. I don't think it makes one bit of difference whose construct marriage is. The fact is that the current laws mean that marriage in the eyes of NZ legislation can only be had by heterosexual couples. It should be an opportunity available to all regardless of gender/sexual orientation. Then it is up to the people themselves whether they want to be a part of it. Its like Bill Hicks said about homosexuals in the military - "anyone dumb enough to want to join the military should be allowed in". The whole point is about equal opportunity for everyone.

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  9. I keep on thinking that any marriage is a formal agreement to do with a RELATIONSHIP and whether it may or may not last. Objective reality dictates this, subjective religion, politics (whatever) dictate otherwise.

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