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"We broke a glass ceiling" - Chris Carter

Tue 6 Sep 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Chris Carter delivering his valedictory speech After a long career which ended with a year of stinging controversy, New Zealand's first openly gay MP Chris Carter has farewelled Parliament with a comparatively low-key and placid valedictory speech where he proudly stated he and two of his colleagues broke a glass ceiling by being out and proud MPs. The independent MP who was expelled from Labour in a storm of controversy last year, wore a red rose on his chest as he spoke. He explained that he was the first MP to openly acknowledge being gay, as being a former teacher he knew that gay and lesbian teenagers faced huge amounts of prejudice and had few affirming messages or positive role models. “By being open and honest about my sexuality, and joined soon after by my industrious gay Labour colleague Tim Barnett and my remarkable transsexual colleague Georgina Beyer, we broke a glass ceiling,” he said. “Today having gay and lesbian MPs is no big deal and thank goodness for that.” Although he slammed the media for its intrusion into his personal life and pointed out the impact it has had on both his partner and their three children, Carter spent most of his final say in Parliament thanking those who have stood by him and listing his proudest achievements through his 15 years at the Beehive. During his time in Parliament Chris Carter started one of the first branches of Rainbow Labour, and held a number of Ministerial portfolios, including Education and Conservation. He particularly thanked the Green Party for its support over the past year. Carter received applause and hugs from a number of MPs after his speech. You can watch a video of the speech below:    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 6th September 2011 - 6:13pm

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