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Latest gender identity protection bid denied

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 19th May 2015

Simon Bridges is sticking by the stance that it's 'too controversial'

The Associate Justice Minister has knocked back another attempt to have gender identity specifically included in the Human Rights Act.

Labour MP Louisa Wall asked for the change to be included in the next Statutes Amendment Bill.

That request has been denied, again.

Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges has parroted the response Wall received from then Justice Minister Judith Collins, when she made a similar request last year.

He says the proposed amendment “could generate public debate or controversy” and is therefore not appropriate for inclusion in the Statutes Amendment Bill.

The Bill is designed to deal with short, technical and non-controversial amendments.

Bridges also reiterates that the government believes gender identity is already protected from discrimination under the ‘sex’ category of our human rights legislation.

Those pushing for specific reference to gender identity have been stymied by an untested 2006 Crown Law opinion that gender identity is already covered, as the Human Rights Act protects against discrimination on the grounds of sex.

This opinion caused then Labour MP Georgina Beyer to remove her bill which would have plainly included gender identity as a protected ground.

A Human Rights Commission Inquiry has since found that the act needs to specifically refer to gender identity rather than rely on inclusion under 'sex discrimination'. Advocates say there is no guarantee that the Human Rights Act in its current form will be interpreted as including gender identity.

Wall is not giving up the fight, but has also stated that under a Labour government, the amendment to explicitly refer to "gender identity" will be part of the party’s legislative agenda.

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