Louisa Ball’s Rugby (Definition of Rugby) Amendment Bill

Rugby is a game played by most boys in New Zealand in their childhood, though some don’t want to play it at all. A significant section of the community have always preferred to play a different sport, like soccer.

But Rugby gets all the status in New Zealand, commanding all the respect. So much so that those who play soccer are often made to feel like second-class citizens. They lack the mana of those who play the nation’s revered game.

To end this discrimination we have decided to redefine Rugby to include any sport involving two teams with a ball. As long as you love your team-ball sport you are a rugby player and should be recognised as such in law. Some of our opponents try scare mongering by saying: “well then hockey will end up being called rugby” – but that is not what we are saying at all. This bill is only about soccer players having the right to be considered rugby players like all other rugby players. Hockey uses a stick and no one is saying that should be called rugby.

This isn’t about whether you prefer soccer or rugby. It is a fundamental matter of justice and equality. Why should those soccer players who play every week with a ball against another team not have the equal opportunity and right to be recognised in the street as rugby players? Why are they denied the title and privileges on the grounds that they play differently? Shouldn’t all boys in New Zealand have the same rights regardless of their sporting preference? Why discriminate against boys for the way they choose to play their ball-sport? Aren’t we a country that prizes freedom of choice? In New Zealand you can be a rugby player if you are a boy or a girl, an Asian, Indian, Maori or European…. but apparently not if you are a soccer player.

We should remember that rugby itself has historically undergone many changes. Once upon a time, there were only four points for a try and now there are five. There are eight in the scrum today instead of six in earlier times. Before you had to jump by yourself in the lineout and now you can be lifted. So the Rugby Union is happy to adjust and refine the definition of rugby throughout the ages– but for some reason they stop at soccer. That old boys’ club want to control the definition themselves because underneath, they really regard soccer players as wusses. But look at how they handled their own finances in Otago. And let’s never forget that once upon a time there were white Rugby Union teams in South Africa who refused to let black people be rugby players alongside them. Do we want to perpetuate the same kind of discrimination by denying that soccer is an equally legitimate form of rugby?

New Zealand has always prided itself on a clear separation between sport and politics, and in the 21st century our political system needs to be free from all forms of discrimination. We led the world in giving women the vote. Yet there are still those who are happy to bar the door to those who play sport differently. There is no point in having a referendum on the issue because of course most rugby-playing New Zealanders will want to defend their privileges and guard the status quo.

Some say that we have already achieved equality, when the national soccer team finally got called the “All Whites”. That was a step in the right direction, but it didn’t go far enough. Soccer players need the same access to the “All Black” name and jersey. It’s not good enough to call them “All Whites” when overseas everyone’s heard of the All Blacks. No one talks about the All Whites. It is time to embrace the right of all ball-playing New Zealanders to be regarded as rugby players, regardless of the shape of the ball they use and how they choose to handle it.

[Hat tip: Protect Marriage.]

3 thoughts on “Louisa Ball’s Rugby (Definition of Rugby) Amendment Bill”

  1. This is not a very good example to lampoon the Gay marriage debate Richard, as there really is legislative favouritism of a Religious nature in respect to Rugby…Re State Funding.
    However Soccer I would say does get some funding.

    And ‘Marriage’ is certainly not restricted to the definition of ‘A commitment/ union/ partnership between of a Man and a woman’!
    That is merely *a particular religious sects narrow definition*.
    The term is in reality much more board than that…
    Thus including such things as Polygamy, and Same sex couples in the legal definition is nothing like trying to call Soccer Rugby. These things are already types of marriage.
    The Christians with their ‘two balls’ have suckered you.
    That is simply a false analogy.
    It is also not comparative to say that my supporting the Legalisation of Gay Marriage is akin to arguing that the government ought to fund soccer to the same degree as they have been funding Rugby.
    These are not comparative because the legalising of Gay marriage does not impose extra tax burdens upon the plebs, whereas saying soccer should get equal monies could entail an increase of the tax burden.

  2. And ‘Marriage’ is certainly not restricted to the definition of ‘A commitment/ union/ partnership between of a Man and a woman’!
    That is merely *a particular religious sects narrow definition*.
    The term is in reality much more broad than that…

    What’s your definition of the term ‘marriage’, Tim?

  3. Richard, you know what my definition is.
    My personal Religious Ideal is not what’s Important here.
    I personally believe in Heterosexual Monogamy as the Ideal for this dispensation, yet know that in earlier dispensations God condoned Polygamy as well. The Bible seems to indicate that Sexual intercourse ‘consummates’ a marriage and that without that no marriage has taken place.
    Thus my position is very much in agreement with the Conservative Christians whom opposed the Legalisation bill.
    Nonetheless I want religious liberty and a separation of church and State.
    I don’t need my definition to hold a legal monopoly in the courts of humanity to maintain it’s integrity. All I need is Freedom and equality.
    I dont wish to impose my values upon other people, nor do I want their values imposed upon me.
    The conservative Christians whom oppose the bill have no compunction against doing just that… using the government to suppress those whom dissent with their personal religious views.
    They are acting out of prejudice, and for their own legalistic vested interest.

    They make appeals to ‘The family as being the sure foundation of civilisation’… inferring that making the law more accommodating and fair will somehow destroy the fabric of civilisation!… that it will constitute a violation of their rights! (They are being dishonnest and attempting to play upon paranoia!)
    They are doing this by telling you their definition of marriage is the only legitimate definition… and this is a patent Fallacy.
    They attempt to protect their strict religious definition by pretending to say that broadening the term is skin to calling Soccer …Rugby!
    To accept this argument means you have already swallowed their fallacy.

    Now I am fighting for a freer and more just society.
    I know True Religion has nothing to fear from freedom and equality… indeed I believe these ideals flow out from pure religion.
    I know that is is wrong for Christians to lobby the government to impose their values upon peaceful unbelievers practicing things which don’t impinge upon the rights and liberties of others… and Gay Marriage does not impose anything upon the conservative Christian.
    They are still free to vocally condemn homosexuality… they will simply not have any Legal monopoly on marriage.

    I know that these conservative Christians are acting in a very unchristian… very Taliban/ Pharisaic manor!
    I know Real Christianity seeks to establish its values in society by Preaching the Gospel of grace and attempting to convert individual souls to voluntarily emulate St Paul… as he emulates Christ.
    “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11vs1)
    “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Pil 4vs9)

    Once The Pharisee Saul was converted to Christianity by the grace of God, he never again picked up a stone against sinners and infidels.
    He never lobbied the Roman state to impose his Holy values upon the rest of society.
    He told believers to pray for the Political leaders of their homelands…*For the liberty* to practice their faith in peace.

    “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
    For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1Tim 2vs1,2)

    Thus I am achieving two noble ends in one motion.
    I am standing for a more just, tolerant, and equal society, and also defending my religion from being perverted into a tool of Pharisaic legalistic oppression.
    Thus proving Christianity is not only compatible with a free society, but that it actually functions property in freedom without recourse to legalism, or political force.

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