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Chauvel urges colleague: "tell the whole truth"

Thu 9 Aug 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News

Charles Chauvel Gay Labour MP Charles Chauvel is urging his colleague Su’a William Sio to “tell the whole truth” when it comes to the increasingly contentious issue of marriage equality, after the Mangere MP claimed the bill would cost Labour the next election. Sio, a socially conservative Samoan MP, will vote against his colleague Louisa Wall’s bill as he says it’s against the wishes of his electorate. He believes wide opposition from constituents to the bill, particularly from Pacific Islanders in the electorate he describes as New Zealand’s “spiritual belt” could cost the party at the next election. Labour MP Charles Chauvel says while he respects Sio’s opinion, he isn’t telling the whole story. “When you say this bill or that bill is going to have electoral consequences, you really need to tell the whole truth,” he has told Newstalk ZB. Chauvel says for every conservative Pacific Island person in New Zealand, there are many more younger people who don't see what the fuss is about when it comes to marriage equality. The bill’s author Louisa Wall has made it clear no church will have to marry a gay couple, something she says she will get out and explain to the Pacific community. Meanwhile people unhappy with Sio’s stance have made their feelings clear on his Facebook page, with Chris Glen pointing out: “If you went out into your community, your electorate, and sought those marginalised, those with hidden voices and those people who are shunned from their church groups you would appreciate the difference supporting this Bill would make.” Labour candidate Richard Hills says “A Samoan young person I work with said to me not that long ago ‘If society hates me cause I live in South Auckland and my church most likely hates me cause I'm gay where does that leave me’. No one should ever feel this way in New Zealand.” Gay radio host and MC Steven Oates says Sio’s stance makes him feel sad for Pasifika gay, lesbian and fa'fafine youth. “It is well documented that this group is over represented in youth suicide statistics. I struggle to see how your stance is going to foster feelings of belonging and self-value amongst these much maligned members of our society,” Oates says in a message to the MP. “If our human assets hold such little value in your eyes and are not a priority. I question your priorities. “Only two weeks ago I personally know of one young Samoan man who took his own life because of the guilt and pressure he felt in his Christian home in regards to his sexuality. Every time a young gay Pacific person takes their own life New Zealand loses someone special and full of potential. Perhaps you could think about what message your stance sends to these young people.” There are others who support Sio’s stance however, such as Tofilau Kerupi Tavita who thanks Sio for “being true to his faith and values”. You can discuss this gay New Zealand community news story in the Forum here    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 9th August 2012 - 12:41pm

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