Today marks 18 years since the Civil Union Act passed into law in Aotearoa. Civil unions offered a way for queer couples to have their relationships legally recognised - like a marriage, but not quite like a marriage. Although this was an important step towards marriage equality in Aotearoa, it still did not put queer couples on the same footing as straight couples, because the unions were not legally marriages. The Act passed into law on 9 December 2004, and civil union became legal almost five months later, on 26 April 2005. The Civil Union Act helped pave the way for the Marriage Amendment Act, which passed into law in 2013.
Celebrates the anniversary of the Civil Union Act with writing by Jack Remiel Cottrell.
Jack Remiel Cottrell
An incomplete list of the things I no longer celebrate
1. Half birthdays: Age 8 — It suddenly became babyish to count the months until my next birthday down from six.
2. Getting a phone call: Age 13 — The moment at which an unlimited txt plan rendered talking on the phone irrelevant.
3. New Harry Potter movies: Age 16 — When I realised they were a bit crap. (And again a few years ago, cos of the transphobia.)
4. Not getting asked for ID: Age 18 — After the third time it happened, the thrill of getting into a bar gave way to the fear of looking old.
5. A guy thinking I’m hot: Age 21 — Once it had occurred enough times, it also occurred to me that I was neither unlovable, nor unfuckable.
6. $2 doubles: Age 24 — Well after the point where the hangovers are worse than the quality of the vodka.
7. Scoring tickets to attend an ear-splitting concert in a poorly ventilated arena with a writhing mass of sweaty strangers: Age 27.
8. Fridays: Age 28 — When I discovered being self-employed rendered the days meaningless, and understood I was going to have to work weekends for the rest of forever.
9. Getting a tan: Age 30 — Because melanoma scares are terrifying.
10. Growing a moustache: Age 32 — Just because I technically can, it really doesn’t mean that I should.
Jack Remiel Cottrell is an itinerant flash fiction writer with an expensive rugby habit. His first book Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson and other very short stories was published in 2021, and he is currently trying to write another one. @jackremiel
Author photo: Vetiver Pictures