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Access to Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in New Zealand: A Matter of Human Rights

Scope of work undertaken: This thesis focuses on access to marriage as a fundamental human right, and the premise that there is no justifiable reason, in terms of New Zealand law, why same-sex couples should be excluded from this right. Method of investigation: This thesis is the result of participatory action research and academic analysis. I have been centrally involved with the issue of equal access to same-sex marriage and, therefore, this thesis has been an experiential exercise involving engagement with key protagonists in human rights issues in New Zealand - proponents and detractors. However, I have also considered a great deal of primary and secondary material, particularly in relation to human rights law and family law, and have considered key developments regarding relationship recognition in a range of overseas jurisdictions. Main divisions of the thesis: Part I provides introductory information, setting the objectives and the parameters of the thesis. This part also includes the methodology used in the gathering and analysis of information in the writing of this thesis. In Part II, I provide a range of information to set the context in which I have considered the issue of same-sex marriage. This includes a personal perspective, an analysis of the human rights imperatives, and a commentary on a range of issues relating to New Zealand's constitutional and social arrangements. In Part III, I consider developments in the law in New Zealand and overseas. I examine the response of the New Zealand courts, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the Government and Parliament of New Zealand to the call for same-sex marriage in New Zealand. I also examine legislative initiatives and court challenges in a range of overseas jurisdictions and the extent to which these have been successful in providing equal access to marriage for same-sex couples and the impact these might have on future developments in New Zealand. Finally, Part IV provides a summary of the key themes of the thesis, a consideration of options for possible future action, and suggestions with regard to ensuring future success. Conclusions reached: My conclusion is that there is no valid justification for denying full marriage equality to same-sex couples in New Zealand, and that there are steps that we can take to ensure the achievement of full and equal treatment under the law. It is my thesis that there is no valid justification for denying full marriage equality to same-sex couples in New Zealand. Contribution to knowledge of the subject This thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of law and historical fact relating to the recognition of lesbian and gay relationships in New Zealand, and in that sense, provides a cultural and historical tool for immediate use. The thesis also, however, provides a platform for future progress. I consider that it will be able to be used as a reference to shift attitudes. Much of the material in this thesis has been used already, both in New Zealand and internationally, in helping to bring about change.
Type of thesis
Christie, N. (2009). Access to Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in New Zealand: A Matter of Human Rights (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3277
The University of Waikato
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