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"We'll only do it together," Wall tells Pride opener

Sat 15 Sep 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Marriage equality bill author and Labour MP Louisa Wall at tonight's launch of Hamilton Pride Louisa Wall is urging the community to get writing and make submissions on her marriage equality bill, telling the opening of Hamilton Pride: “this is something that we will achieve - but we will only do it together.” “We now have a position for us all to mobilise around and write submissions,” Labour's Rainbow Caucus chair told a crowd which nestled between the well-stocked aisles at Browser’s book store on Hamilton’s main street tonight. Author Chris Brickell agave a talk about his stunning new book Manly Affections and presented some of the stunning pictures of its subject, Robert Gant, before Wall spoke, gently rallying those gathered to take action: “We have six weeks as communities to write in support of the bill and ask to be heard,” the Labour MP said. “And I think if enough people from Hamilton make a submission and want to be heard then the Select Committee will come here.” Hamilton City Councillor Daphne Bell was in attendance, continuing her support of the GLBTI community. She spoke briefly about her aim to get local National MP for Hamilton East David Bennett on the side of marriage equality, saying “I am quietly hoping sanity will prevail,” to much laughter. Labour MP Sue Moroney was among the audience, as was Green MP Kevin Hague, who Wall acknowledged when she spoke of the cross-party backing the bill has received. “We have been working really hard as colleagues across the House,” she said “We’re in a really strong position.” Hague agreed the support from across the House has been great, “and I think that positive feeling of the campaign is something we really need to hang onto,” he said. “And I think if people put their personal stories into submissions, that’s what’s going to cut through.” To a question of what she makes of gay National MP Christopher Finlayson’s opposition to the legislation, Wall paused and shrugged her shoulders, then said “he’s one of the 40 to be honest,” referring to the 40 MPs who voted against the bill in its first reading. “We have a really solid base and we’re not taking that for granted. We had 80 people who allowed us to have a conversation … I am still working on the 40 to be honest.” She urged people to meet with their MPs if they had voted against it and put their case forward. Wall added she knows New Zealand First’s MPs will not move on the issue because their leader wants a referendum, which she thinks is unneeded and expensive, as she does not think human rights and equality are issues which need a referendum. She said that while over the course of the marriage debate she has been sent emails she knew from the first line would be “too disgusting” to read, she’s also had emails from queer teenagers talking about how they have self-harmed. “Then you realise what this is all about,” she told the group. “This is about creating a healthy nurturing environment for all of us, particularly those who are most vulnerable. This is part of the legacy building that we are now all engaged in for the next generation of rainbow whanau. This is something that we will achieve but we will only do it together.” Wall also took a moment to acknowledge her own partner, Prue Kapua, who she said likes to hide away in the corner at such events. “But in fact she is my strength and I want to thank her for coming on a Saturday night when the All Blacks are playing South Africa … Prue is seriously more interested in rugby than I am,” the former Black Fern said to giggles from the audience. “So we’ve had to MySky it and we’ll watch it when I get home.” Wall added that Kapua, a lawyer, had also helped her grasp the details when she delved into drafting bill, which she says is very simple – as it will make marriage between two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. “I think in a modern democratic society marriage is about love. It’s about two people who want to commit themselves together as that basic unit in society.” The bill is expected to have its second reading early next year.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 15th September 2012 - 10:03pm

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