When the Third Reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill (a.k.a Marriage Equality) took place a Parliament on Wednesday, Mighty Ape showed support for the Bill by posting this image to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, which together are followed by over 200,000 New Zealanders.
Mighty Ape is a business reliant on paying customers, so obviously the decision to show support for a potentially divisive issue wasn't without risk. We are primarily a retailer, after all.
I'm surprised more people don't start things. Internet things. New ideas. New opportunities. New websites.
There are a lot of super-smart people in New Zealand. Super-smart designers, developers and business people working hard to maintain the status-quo.
We can do more.
I've always been one to take things personally. I frequently misinterpret words and actions as an unprovoked attack on me or my character. I think things are about me when they're not.
A little trick I've learned to help deal with this is to ask myself "is this person being the best friend/boyfriend/colleague/neighbour/mother/father/sister/whatever that they know how to be?" I try hard to think about their specific circumstances, who their friends are, their upbringing, their beliefs etc.
The next question I ask is "Am I being treated any differently from this person's other friends/boyfriends/children/siblings/whatever?"
The shrinking minority still opposed to Marriage Equality often use polyamorous relationships as a weapon against supporting same-sex marriage. You know the argument, the "slippery slope" that will eventually see the state acknowledging relationships between more than two people.
Terrifying stuff, apparently.
Before I dive into why this concept should in fact terrify no body at all, it's important for clarity that I restate my previously outlined position on marriage equality in relation to same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is something I fully support on the basis of fairness, equality, and most importantly the positive message it sends to young gay people.
I've always valued friendship. Growing up, I've crossed paths with some amazing people, and having chosen to live most of my adult life as a single person, I have wherever possible, made friendship a priority in my life.
As I grow older, I'm becoming more aware of how significant these friendships have become. How they form the foundation of my life. How much happiness they bring me. How they've shaped me into the person I am today, and how they will mould me into the person I become tomorrow.
It's sad to me that, in the eyes of many, friendships are considered a second-tier relationship. Less than family. Less than a marriage. Less than a monogamous sexual relationship. It's totally wrong. If a person is valuable to you, integral to your happiness, is good for you and brings you joy, it should make no difference to anybody whether you share blood, a bed, or a marriage certificate.
I love my 1987 E30 BMW. It's one of my favourite "things". I bought it with no intention of selling it. Ever. I've spent thousands maintaining it. Hours days cleaning it. It brings me so much happiness. But it's up for sale.
Because I want this year to be different from last year. I don't want the same routines and the same experiences. I want new adventures and new things to love. Sometimes you need to get rid of the old, to make way for the new.
I was never particularly close to my grandmother. As a kid, she always lived so far away, and when she finally moved up to Auckland, I never made time to spend time with her, just the two of us.
When she had a heart attack some eight weeks ago, all that changed. My parents were overseas, deep in South America. My sister, and all other immediate family, were living in Australia. It left just me.
I visited Grandma every day in hospital. I discovered a woman I'd never met before. She was strong, brave, unafraid, and totally unwilling to make a fuss. Turns out, I had so much to learn from her.
Having co-founded Zillion with Simon Barton in 2005, I'm in a unique position to explain first-hand why sites like Wheedle stand no chance of disrupting Trade Me's monopoly position in New Zealand.
Unfortunately for Neil Graham and team, Wheedle has two insurmountable problems. Network effects, and a below-average website.
I've compiled a list of all the New Zealand MPs on Twitter so you can follow them, question them, lobby them, make friends with them, or if you want, just shout at them...
Let me know if you spot any mistakes of if I've missed anyone out.
Kudos to the Green Party for having every MP on Twitter. A growing number of journalists and political commentators hang out on Twitter, and the other smaller parties are possibly missing an important opportunity to engage and help shape the debates.
The message we send to young gay New Zealanders, plus their friends and family, needs to be front and centre of the imminent debate for marriage equality.
Anxiety, fear, embarrassment, shame, guilt, rejection, pain and suffering are familiar emotions for the vast majority of young gay men and women growing up in New Zealand. The selfish, ignorant beliefs of a shrinking minority are robbing our young people, who have their whole lives ahead of them, from the love and acceptance most New Zealanders take for granted.
When following the debate, forget about the act of getting married. Forget about men and women walking down the aisle. Forget about the preservation of an institution. Forget about whether the fundamental legal rights are already taken care of by civil unions. Focus instead on the underlying message we'll send to young people if we continue to treat same-sex attraction as a lesser form of love, different and separate from the love enjoyed by the balance of society. Look around you and you'll see that our current beliefs are causing unhappiness for many, and in extreme cases they're costing lives.