MEDIA RELEASE: Views On Marriage & Gender Aren’t ‘Hate Speech’ – Poll

Media Release 27 June 2021
As the Government considers hate speech laws, a poll released in January found that just one in ten New Zealanders think it should be a crime to publicly claim that gender is revealed at birth and is not a matter of personal identity, or that it should be a crime to publicly state that marriage is between a man and a woman only..

Both issues have been included in aspects of ‘hate speech’ laws or proposals in other countries including Scotland, Norway, Canada, UK, and in Tasmania state, but this is clearly rejected by Kiwis according to the results of this poll.

In the poll of 1,000 New Zealanders surveyed at the end of last year by Curia Market Research, respondents were asked: “Should it be a crime to publicly claim that sex is revealed at birth, and is not a matter of personal choice?” Only 9% of respondents thought it should be a crime to publicly state this view, with 73% opposed (and 17% unsure or refused to say). There was little difference in view based on age, gender or political allegiance (including strong opposition to it being treated as a crime from Labour and Green voters).

The most high-profile target of expressing views in this area has been author JK Rowling who has challenged gender ideology, including the statement ‘people who menstruate’. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was criticised in 2019 after saying transgender teens are being pressured by ‘identity politics’, as was a Tasmanian Liberal senator who defended women’s sport from pro-transgender policy. The UK broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has just widened its definition of hate speech to include intolerance of gender reassignment.

Respondents were also asked: “Should it be a crime to publicly state a belief that marriage should only be between a man and woman?” Only 12% of respondents think it should be a crime to publicly state this view, with 80% opposed. The remainder were undecided or refused to say. Once again, opposition was strong across all political allegiances.

Australian tennis great Margaret Court criticised Tennis Australia (TA) early last year following the Australian Open, saying the governing body had “discriminated” against her due to her opposition to gay marriage. And last year, a UK Labour MP resigned as the party’s shadow faith minister following comments about same-sex marriages and freedom of conscience for those who believe in the traditional definition.

“This latest polling confirms that despite the country’s horror at the terrorist act in Christchurch and the grotesque ideology behind it, the Government does not have the support of New Zealanders for a radical transformation and expansion of ‘hate speech’ laws, and the government may actually alienate the very base that put them in power. The importance of freedom of expression and open debate in a civil society are ideals every New Zealander has an investment in – and will defend.” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The nationwide poll which was commissioned by Family First NZ was carried out during December 2020 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

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