Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Smith s apology : Smith and Jolliff "surprised" by MP's apology

Wed 23 Jan 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

John Jolliff and Des Smith The Wellington gay couple who found questions asked by a marriage equality select committee member offensive say they are "interested and surprised" to hear that the MP has apologised and say that he opposes discrimination. MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi yesterday apologised through Daily News if his questioning of the couple - who seek access to marriage for gay couples - about who is the man and who is the wife in a same-sex relationship and the assumption that having children is a primary focus of marriage offensive Bakshi also said yesterday he is against discrimination but so far sees no reason to extend the Marriage Act to include non-heterosexual couples. "Mr Bakshi does seem aware now that the nature of his questioning was offensive," say veteran gay equality activists Des Smith and John Jolliff, "but it is not clear to us that he really understands, or wants to understand, the issues at stake here. Whilst claiming that he believes no one should be discriminated against he deems civil unions as appropriate and sufficient for gay couples." The pair point out that Bakshi's fellow National MP Judith Collins has said she voted against civil unions on the grounds that it created a parallel but unequal form of marriage for gay couples. Collins says she will vote in favour of marriage equality. "Until such time as we gain the full rights and responsibilities of marriage we remain second class citizens," Smith and Jolliff say. They urge the MP to think the issue through more. "We would hope that Mr Bakshi will make strenuous efforts to appreciate the values of human rights during the remainder of the Committee's deliberations." Smith and Jolliff say they made their complaint of offensive questioning, including a call for Bakshi to be stood down from the select committee, to the committee itself but have not yet received a reply. Asked about the status of the complaint this evening at the close of the select committee's Auckland hearings into the marriage equality bill, chair Ruth Dyson says she understands the complaint was tabled but as she was absent from the committee at the time due to family illness and only returned yesterday she is unsure of any progress. She says she will look into the matter.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 23rd January 2013 - 8:55pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us