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Marriage equality expected to bring expats home

Wed 26 Sep 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Stephen Rainbow believes marriage equality could attract gay people home The Chair of OUTLine believes if we leave Australia in the dust with the passage of our marriage equality bill, it could attract gay New Zealanders back across the Tasman. Speaking at a special glbt-themed meeting of the Council’s Social and Community Development Forum, Stephen Rainbow said OUTLine wants to help make sure the city’s glbti communities can fulfil their potential in contributing to the world’s ‘most liveable city’ – which is the vision of the Auckland Plan. “And when I listen to that odious little man [Conservative political party boss] Mr Colin Craig saying that people are going to leave the country because of same-sex marriage, if it is passed, as we hope it will … "I want to put that differently and suggest that actually what would happen as a result of the difference now between Australia and New Zealand, is that we could actually attract back our brothers and sister who are part of the gay diaspora,” he said. “So that they come back to contribute to the future of this, the world’s most liveable city, and our wonderful New Zealand Aotearoa. “And I believe that’s a real possibility, given the direction we are heading.” Rainbow also discussed the popular representation of gay Aucklanders, and the “extraordinary ordinariness” of many same-sex couples with children, as pointed out in a Ministry of Social Development report. He said while he loves drag queens, he points out that whenever the glbti community is talked about on TV news there is a picture of Prime Minister John Key with drag queens. “But actually many gay people just get on with very ordinary lives, in the suburbs, bringing up kids, bringing up dogs, contributing to their communities. We need to acknowledge that,” he said. “There are gay classic car clubs. There’s a gay swimming club. There’s a choir that’s about to celebrate its 20th birthday. There’s a business association … there’s a youth organisation … we have a plethora of organisations that represent the fact there are as many ways of being gay as there are gay people.” Rainbow added that one of the challenges glbti people in Auckland have had is the lack of a physical base, something OUTLine is attempting to overcome with its new “Rainbow Suite” in Ponsonby which it hopes will become a community hub – and already has many groups using. Aside from being Chair of OUTLine, Rainbow is a high-level manager at Auckland Transport.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 26th September 2012 - 1:02pm

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