A teenager opposed to gay marriage has accused select committee members of behaving in a hostile and "menacing" way to submitters who are against a proposed law change for same-sex couples.
Leader of conservative lobby group Family First Bob McCoskrie says the girl was treated apallingly [sic] by MPs when she told them during her oral submission that to allow homosexuals to marry would undermine the sanctity of marriage, with one calling her "homophobic" and another getting up for refreshments in the middle of her speech.
In a press release sent to the Sunday Star-Times, McCoskrie said 18-year-old Grace Carroll was left humiliated, disappointed and frustrated by the experience - and she's not the only person to have complained.
Some bloggers have already covered this story; John Stringer's is brilliant and David Farrar is most gentlemanly given that the submission was against "marriage equality" which he supports, while as Cameron Slater was strangely quiet on this topic given his predilection to post anything he can on "marriage equality" and stories negative about Catholics
In a some comments in David Farrar's post on Grace, the accusation is made that given Grace's age, her parents or Bob McCoskrie must have put her up to doing the oral submission, that she wouldn't have done it if it weren't for them.
"This girl and she is a girl , barely out of nappies was sent by the likes of McCoskrie just for this effect." - Viking2
"Perhaps her parents didn’t have the gall to front up to the committee themselves, and therefore sent poor Grace to do the dirty work for them?" - Fox
I know Grace Carroll's family, and from what I know of how the children are being raised, it does not surprise me that Grace, of her own initiative, decided to make an oral submission. Her mother in particular is very much of the opinion that her girls will grow up to be strong women who are involved in their communities, and Grace stepping up is a reflection of her upbringing.
Interestingly enough, Kevin Hague, the Green MP who apparently called Grace "homophobic", made a comment on the Kiwiblog thread. I find this interesting from the perspective that maybe he considers this story detrimental enough to the cause, to try and do some damage control. He commented:
I suspect people commenting on this thread will largely have made up their minds about this incident based on how they feel about Louisa’s bill, so there may be nothing to be achieved by adding my perspective but, you know , accountability.
If you have read the Sunday Star Times piece, you know that Grace Carroll’s account of what occurred on 10th December is disputed by members of the committee from the three parties represented on it. Some questions that may not have occurred to you:
- why are these accusations emerging nearly two months after the meeting?
- why hasn’t any complaint been made to the Committee or to the Speaker?
- why wasn’t this bad behaviour by the Committee members reported at all by the journalists present?
- why have no journalists or other independent observers stepped forward to corroborate her account?
You may have also noticed that no other media have covered the Family First claims. Journalists who have been covering the select committee hearings will confirm, I think, that committee members – both for and against – have done a good job of dealing respectfully and reasonably with submitters. Sometimes that is in the face of aggressive or offensive content or tone. Check out some of the submissions if you doubt that.
As for suggestions that the committee has already made up its mind, I would point out that EVERY bill that comes to a select committee has already had its first reading. Parties and individual MPs already have views about it. But my experience is that all MPs believe we have a responsibility to hear what people have to say, and bills are usually improved by the process. Yes, 4 members of the committee voted for the first reading and 2 against. That’s the same proportion as the first reading debate, and scientific public opinion polls. Sure there are reasonable reservations that could be expressed, but I don’t see a better way of conducting the process.
Redbaiter had a very good reply to Kevin's four questions that he raised in his comment:
Indeed. Though, by calling her a liar explicitly, he would make himself look less like his careful cultivation of being the wounded party in all this (it's not working by the way, but you can see him trying) show himself to be an aggressor against an 18 year old girl. Not a good look, even if you are gay.1. why are these accusations emerging nearly two months after the meeting?Probably because that is how long it takes to get NZ’s obviously pro-homosexual marriage media to report something like this. In fact I’m highly surprised it made it into print at all.
2. why hasn’t any complaint been made to the Committee or to the Speaker?Probably because in the face of such obvious bias it would be completely fruitless. Nevertheless, maybe the victim should try it. If after the treatment she has already suffered, she can screw the required courage together.
3. why wasn’t this bad behaviour by the Committee members reported at all by the journalists present?Ha ha.. you’re joking right. Since when have the media ever reported objectively on this issue. They’re all for it like the whining sycophantic yellow progressive dogs they all are. In countless surveys on the issue, mainstream media journalists are regarded with less respect than used car salesmen, and there is good reason for this lack of regard.
4. why have no journalists or other independent observers stepped forward to corroborate her account?I’ve already dealt qwith the journalist question. As for others- fear. Who wants to be labeled as bigoted, homophobic, dinosauric, ignorant, and be otherwise trashed by the loud mouthed pro-redefinition of marriage lobby? (Wasn’t it you guys who made threats against Colin Craig’s property?)
Here’s a question for you.
Why don’t you just say Grace is a liar?
I'd like to also point out in regards to Kevin Hague's questions no 3 and 4 above that Louisa Wall's bill is called the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, yet a number of media outlets are calling it the Marriage Equality Bill, and when referring to arguments around it they call the proposed redefinition of marriage "Marriage Equality", the current propaganda term for same-sex marriage. That would indicate a pretty strong bias in the media for redefining marriage and when a person is biased, it's very difficult to report objectively on those you disagree with.
More Committee Intolerance
Another commenter on Kiwiblog, Scott, has confirmed that if a submitter was against the redefinition of marriage then they were considered intolerant, and treated as such:
My experience was that the select committee was hopelessly biased and let people know very early whether they were in favour or not. Ruth Dyson was chairing and warmly received the submissions of the rainbow wing of the Labour party (no surprise there) and Margaret Mayman, the pastor of St Andrews on the Terrace (the most liberal church in New Zealand).
Your humble correspondent was not greeted at all warmly. Indeed immediately warned about the intolerant nature of my submission. This before I had even spoken a word!
It is clear that the select committee has a predetermined outcome in mind, to recommend gay marriage to parliament and see it become the law of the land.
I suspect the reason they got stuck into young Grace was that they have been saying for the past year that the youth are on their side. Here was an authentic young person that defied that meme. She, must be silenced at all costs! - Scott
That Virtue Word
Kevin Hague has been reported as not liking it when Grace spoke of virtue. He said, according the SST article:
Hague, who is gay, said he felt all submitters - especially individuals - had been treated with respect. He said he would be concerned if an 18-year-old felt bullied, but he didn't think that was the case. However, he admitted he did express exasperation when she began talking about "virtue".
"That makes my hackles rise . . . I find it offensive," he said.
The word virtue is derived from Latin virtūs, manliness, excellence, goodness, and from vir, man.
That a word that stems from manliness makes Kevin Hague's hackles rise is very ironic, to say the least.
More importantly, because our understanding of the meanings of words changes over time and because our standards have slipped so dramatically, Kevin Hague, like many of our Parliamentarians, don't understand how important a virtuous citizenry is to a free state. From an old post:
[...] the key to democracy is not free choice. As we know from the Weimar Republic, people can freely choose anything, even Hitler. The key, as our Founding Fathers knew, is virtue. Only a virtuous person is capable of rational consent because only a virtuous person's reason is unclouded by the habitual rationalizations of vice. Vice inevitably infects the faculty of judgment. No matter how democratic their institutions, morally enervated people cannot be free. And people who are enslaved to their passions inevitably become slaves to tyrants. Thus, our Founders predicated the success of democracy in America upon the virtue of the American people.Or maybe Keven Hague, being from the Watermelon Party (Green on the outside and Red on the inside), knows very well where virtue leads and it's not a place where we would see the Green Party anywhere near the levers of power.
Oh, look. Here's Kevin honouring the brave and generous pro-submitters .
Grace Carroll - Oral Submission Appendices
Bullying & Bias At ‘Same-Sex Select Committee’ ~ ConZervative
A young submitter ~ Kiwiblog
Committee 'menacing' to anti-gay-marriage teenager ~ Stuff