Title: Christian Heritage supports office attack message Credit: Chris banks Comment Wednesday 8th December 2004 - 12:00pm1102460400 Article: 520 Rights
The Christian Heritage Party says it is right behind the message of two of its 2002 election candidates – one of them a former justice spokesman for the party – who attacked MP David Benson-Pope's office at the weekend by plastering it with anti-civil union posters. The message on the posters was a mock Tui Beer advertisement bearing the slogan "Civil Unions Isn't Gay Marriage – yeah right". Christian Heritage leader Ewen McQueen says the actions of Matthew and Madeleine Flannagan, ranked 19th and 20th on CHP's candidate list at the 2002 general election, made a very good point. "I think the advert itself was quite a cunning one," says McQueen. "I'm not saying we'd necessarily endorse Matt's action, all I'm saying is I think the action made a very good point." A spokesman for Dunedin South police said he felt the Flannagans' actions weren't technically vandalism, as their stated use of water-soluable glue which reportedly made the posters easy to remove ensured there was no damage. However, they could be charged with disorderly behaviour which carries with it a three-month jail term. Mr Benson-Pope says he's yet to decide whether to press charges. "I will be talking with the staff at the electorate office to see how they feel about the incident and what they think might be appropriate in the circumstances," he says.“'s readers might be pleased to know that the local real estate firm was so appalled by the attack that they visited with pizza vouchers in a bid to cheer the staff up - a great community response!” Benson-Pope's staff were equally disturbed by a more sinister gesture which occurred almost at the same time – a jar of excrement labelled “civil union” which was left outside the office door. Flannagan says he had nothing to do with this, and condemns such tactics. In fact, he believes the culprit may be a “gay stalker” on the loose in Dunedin trying to discredit his actions. “It has been suggested to me, by several people - independently I might add -that a pro-civil union activist is deliberately following up what I do with such things so I could be blamed for it,” he told "Madeleine and I were seen putting the posters up in town the evening before, and at one stage a car full of people was following us." The Flannagans are part of a group on campus at Otago University called Student Choice, which recently orchestrated opposition to vote down a move by the student union at an open meeting to support its gay and lesbian students receiving equal relationship rights. Student Choice has admitted to stacking the meeting with conservative religious students, including black-shirted members of the Destiny Church, to vote down the measure. Following this heated meeting, one gay student found excrement in his letterbox. “I have been talking to numerous people and few think it is a coincidence,” says Flannagan. “Numerous associates of mine think that it is the same person. Theyfind it far too coincidental that twice someone has followedupmy peaceful activities with such actions." Flannagan believes homosexual acts to be "illegal", despite the passage of homosexual law reform in 1985. "If government tommorow decided to decriminalise rape, I would still consider rape a crime, it's just that the Government has failed to recognise it as a crime and treat it as one,” he says. Chris banks - 8th December 2004    
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