Views on Marriage & Gender Identity Aren’t ‘Hate Speech’ – Poll

Media Release 6 January 2021
A new poll has 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..

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated just last month that views on such issues would be included in proposed ‘hate speech’ laws, 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 last month 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 month, 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.

In New Zealand, Labour’s 2020 election manifesto stated that “Labour will extend legal protections for groups that experience hate speech, including for reasons of religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation, by ensuring that we prohibit speech that is likely to incite others to feel hostility or contempt towards these groups under the Human Rights Act 1993.”

As commentator Dr Muriel Newman recently stated – “So while the restrictions on free speech that Labour proposed last year were ostensibly to protect those ‘minority ethnic and religious communities’ who felt vulnerable in the aftermath of the Christchurch tragedy, what is now being planned is a significant expansion of hate speech protection to a number of other groups in society. In effect, what Labour is now proposing, will enshrine identity politics into law.

“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.

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


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