In the continuing debate over same-sex "marriage", there is one question that has not so far been answered, and that is: "Why?"
Why is it that homosexuals and lesbians want to be allowed to "marry" when they have had civil unions available to them since 2004, which confer on the participants largely the same rights and responsibilities as marriage?
The main argument put forward by the proponents seems to be over adoption, something which is not permitted by the legislation on civil unions. However, there is provision in law for people in non-marital relationships to adopt as individuals.
This desire for homosexual couples to be able to adopt seems to me to be the ultimate exercise in wanting your cake and eating it, too. By their very nature, homosexuals and lesbians cannot reproduce, except through IVF treatments or by the use of surrogate fathers or mothers.
And that, to my mind, makes marriage the exclusive preserve of heterosexuals - men and women who cleave to one another to, among other things, have children and to bring them up in a traditional family environment.
In any case, there are, as one opponent of same-sex "marriage" has pointed out, all sorts of bans against marriage, even for heterosexuals: children cannot marry, fathers cannot marry daughters or brothers marry sisters, a married man cannot marry another woman - the list goes on. And, as he says, it is disingenuous to complain about rights being taken away when they have never existed in the first place.
MP Louisa Wall, the sponsor of the private member's same-sex "marriage" bill which will have its first reading in Parliament this month, has said her bill is "about the state giving two people who love each other who are New Zealand citizens the right to obtain a marriage licence". And, as all such crusaders invariably do, she talks about "issues of equality and discrimination".
So the question remains, "Why?" None of this provides a logical reason to give homosexuals and lesbians the privilege of marriage. It's not as if there is any great demand. Between 2005 and 2011 there have been 2152 civil unions, a fair number of which have since been dissolved. Of them, 467 were between men and women who chose civil union instead of marriage, 989 were female-female and 696 male-male unions.
Even considering the homosexual and lesbian communities make up less than 4 per cent of the population, not many have bothered to regularise their relationships. So, again, why set out after same-sex "marriage"? The answer is it is another step in a decades-long campaign to convince everyone that homosexuals and lesbians are no different from the rest of us and deserve all the rights and privileges known to mankind. That widespread and successful public relations campaign all began with the corruption of the word "gay". The original meaning of gay was light-hearted and carefree, yet no homosexual I've ever met could be so described.
You can bet that within a few days of this column appearing I will be labelled a homophobe. I decline to wear that appellation because I have no phobias about homosexuality, male or female.
The fact is that male homosexuality - while I concede that some men are made that way and it's their business - is one of the few things in life that I cannot for the life of me understand.
What I do understand is that it makes homosexuals different from me and the rest of heterosexual humanity, and always will, and marriage is a heterosexual institution and should stay that way.