Article Title:LIVE FROM THE FRONT: Reports from the anti-gay Destiny rally
Category:Features
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com
Published on:6th March 2005 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:643
Text:Collected live news reports from GayNZ.com reporters covering the fundamentalist rally against Civil Unions held by Destiny and City Impact churches in central Auckland, plus the glbt counter-event. Saturday 5 March 2005, Auckland **11.05AM: Students confronting Destiny march** Students appear to be the predominant protesters confronting this morning's Destiny Fundamentalist Christian Defend the Legacy march as it heads up Auckland's main thoroughfare towards an anti-Civil Unions rally in Myers Park. Destiny church and political party members, led by their guru Brian Tamaki and a large kapa haka group dressed in white bomber jackets, have filled Queen Street up to Shortland Street, carrying professionally printed banners with Family Values and Next Generation-style messages. Eschewing the blackshirt image from their Wellington march on Parliament last year Destiny has outfitted its members in red, white and blue t-shirts. Shortly before 11am they were confronted by a smaller group of mainly student protesters with hand-lettered "Not my Destiny" messages led by a young man in a Brian Tamaki mask and religious robes carrying a placard reading Let us Prey. **11.30AM: Lower-key march, low glbt numbers** Blessed with fine weather and kept under tight control by Destiny minders the anti-gay Destiny church and political party marchers are now well up Queen Street carrying their anti-Civil Unions message decrying what they believe is moral decay in New Zealand. They have been confronted several times by small groups of pro-CU protesters including two young topless women with body-painted messages "Muff is enough" and "Keep your religion off my tits." Otherwise there seems to be a complete absence of pro-glbt messages on display. GayNZ.com reporters in the crowd say both the marchers and counter-marchers are well behaved with a light police presence merely ensuring that the march continues up to Myers Park unimpeded. The number of Destiny marchers has been estinated at "somewhat over 1500" and the number of anti-Destiny protesters is markededly less. Adding to the red, white and blue Destiny group is a secondary group of religious protesters in red t-shirts bearing the message "Self-control instead of birth control." Our reporters, who also covered the march on Parliament live late last year, say this march seems to carry none of the threatening behaviour of the Wellington march which was widely criticised for its aggressive, militaristic attitude characterised by fists in the air and simillar aggressive posturing. **12.08PM: Sirens and cheers greet Tamaki** With clockwork precision and heralded by wailing sirens Destiny church and political party guru Brian Tamaki has arrived at the speakers' platform for his Defend the Legacy anti-Civil Unions protest. Prior to his arrival a small group of anti-Destiny protesters shouting pro-glbt and pro-Civil Unions slogans were surrounded by Destiny acolytes and drowned out by an on-stage band which blasted the central-city Auckland park with music. GayNZ.com reporters say the march and counter-protest remained peaceful throughout its Queen Street route with some glbt protesters managing to have "fairly civil" discussions with Destiny Members. A revision of the numbers of Destiny and allied fundamentalist Christian church protesters taking part now puts the numbers at nearer 8,000 and one reporter said it took eight minutes to walk with the march from the bottom of Queen Street to Myers park where Destiny and other fundamentalist leaders are about to speak. Wild chanting and cheering has greeted Tamaki's arrival on the platform. **12.44PM: Tamaki: Prayer is not enough!** In a strongly political rallying speech Destiny church and political party guru Brian Tamaki has told his massed followers that they must move beyond their church and get politically active. Tamaki told the anti-CU protest crowd that it is "not enough to stay within the four walls of the church," and that prayer is not enough. He reinforced his call to action by saying that "it is moral suicide" for a church group to not get political. While his references to gays were more muted than in the past and claiming that "we are not against the homosexual community" he described glbt people as having "chosen" to get involved in "destructive sexual practises." His speech was punctuated by wild cheering from the crowd which has filled Auckland's Myers Park following a march up Queen Street. **1.05PM: Tiny glbt group standing up to mob** Although their numbers have swelled glbt and student protesters standing up to the anti-gay Destiny church and political party's Auckland rally number only about 150. They are currently surrounded by an estimated 8,000 chanting, screaming and cheering Destiny acolytes many of whom are facing them eye to eye with barely disguised looks of hatred and disgust, according to a GayNZ.com reporter with the group. Deep in the mob reporter Chris Banks says the white-uniformed Destiny minders are a particularly dominating presence. "They're physically big, they're giving off plenty of staunch attitude and their uniforms give a strong impression of solidarity and control," says Banks. Despite their small numbers the protesters managed to maintain a chant of "Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit..." through Destiny guru Brian Tamaki's speech containing anti-gay, anti-Civil Unions rhetoric which was received with cheers and chanting by the massed crowd. **1.20PM: Wild cheers and "It Ain't over yet!" ** Religious leaders at the Destiny/City Impact march against the Civil Unions legislation have received a rapturous reception from the huge crowd assembled in inner-city Auckland as they signal the start of overt political campaigning. GayNZ.com's reporters note that the mere mention of the word Destiny is enough to send the crowd into unified cheering while the response to their guru Brian Tamaki's introduction as "Bishop Tamaki" sent the crowd wild. City Impact leader, fundamentalist Peter Mortlock, has told the crowd it is time to "stand up for traditional family values," that abstinence from sex outside marriage is essential and has roundly criticised the Ministry of Health's continuing HIV and safe sex Hubba Hubba Rubber Rubber campaign. But the overriding message of the speeches is that Destiny is only just starting out on its attempt to gain political access to Parliament. Tamaki called the passing of the Civil Unions bill a "flashpoint" and said it is time for his followers to stand up in force. Meanwhile amongst the large groups of t-shirt wearing Destiny and City Impact followers our reporters have observed a large number of bright t-shirts with large bold lettering proclaiming "It Aint Over Yet!" **1.30PM: Destiny political leader ignored** Whilst the huge fundamentalist crowd gathered in inner-city Auckland to be revved up by their religious and political leaders has given unanimous acclaim to messages of religious conservatism and calls for political action they have largely ignored their main political figurehead. Disgraced ex-policeman Richard Lewis, who is the leader of Destiny church's political wing Destiny New Zealand, was notably ignored by the crowd, say GayNZ.com's reporters amongst the crowd. Following on from speakers drawn from fundamentalist church pulpits Lewis's call for a return to family values and claims that the passing of the Civil Unions bill has "legitimised" homosexuality failed to captivate the crowd, many of whom turned away to talk amongst themselves. The colourful, noisy rally in fine weather has been largely well-controlled by Destiny's crowd minders and is scheduled to soon wind down. GayNZ.com reporters at the anti-CU march will then relocate to report from counter-protest actions being held by students and glbt folk in the inner city. **2.10PM: Quiet LGBT gathering "celebrates life" ** A lone anti-gay protester was the only jarring presence in an otherwise quiet and relaxed pro-glbt gathering held to counter the fundamentalist Destiny march and rally in central Auckland. In contrast to the thousands of uniformed and shepherded Destiny and City Impact church accolytes who heard their leaders call, and sometimes shout, for political action to push their religious precepts into Parliament, the small glbt family gathering heard and watched entertainment by musician Chris Knox and glbt community entertainers. However, Big Gay Out fundamentalist protester Justin Pearce turned up alone at the gathering, handing out anti-gay leaflets and heckling speakers including the Hon. Judith Tizard, MP. After nbeing pointed out by Knox, Pearce was surrounded by a glbt group wherever he went in the University Quad venue, being kissed, hugged and getting smeared with touches of pink sunscreen. One gathering participant observed that Pearce seemed to be unconcerned by the up close and personal contact and "even seemed to enjoy it! Maybe he has issues huh?" Another noted with sly emphasis that Pearce's wife had not accompanied him on this outing. Judith Tizard's speech was a significant focus of the gathering, she recalled the persecution and fear experienced by gays before the 1985 passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill and recollected that back then one Labour MP had even tried to pass a law which would have made it illegal for homosexuality to be discussed by anyone except a minister or doctor. She contrasted the glbt gathering with the Destiny spectacle, saying she was glad to see people relaxing in the sunshine and "celebrating life." GayNZ.com - 6th March 2005    
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