Henare with Louisa Wall after the marriage equality legislation passed An MP who went from taking the mickey out of gay issues, to emerge as a staunch supporter of the initiatives of glbti MPs, has announced his retirement. Tau Henare, dubbed by some as the "Minister of Twitter", has taken to Twitter to make the announcement. Known for being up front and a joker, the last few years have seen some changes in Henare’s relationship with the glbti community, going from being in the GayNZ.com New Years Dishonours in 2011, to being on the GayNZ.com Honours list in 2012. In 2011 he tweeted "what a gay story" about an article discussing the use of the word 'gay' as a derogatory term within New Zealand schools, and also mocked gay Labour MP Charles Chauvel - showing a picture of him the back of his partner's car and referring to it as "Driving Miss Daisy". However in 2012 Henare went to Uganda with openly-gay MPs Louisa Wall and Jan Logie, and helped them join fellow parliamentarians in urging a commitment to the safeguarding of human rights for all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. "We want to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow parliamentarians in fighting inequality, poverty and discrimination on any grounds, and we respectfully implore parliamentarians to extend human rights protections to all citizens,” Henare said, in a statement at the time. He went on to be a solid backer of Wall as she progressed marriage equality, speaking in favour of the change at a rally at Parliament ahead of the first reading. Henare even stepped in and helped the Speaker change his mind when he said a National Marriage Equality Conference could not be held in the Legislative Council Chamber in Parliament. During the debate on the second reading, he was fiercely in favour, saying it was not even about straight people. “It has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with my sanity, my lack of sanity. My happiness, my lack of happiness,” he said. “It has everything to do with other people's sanity, their happiness and how they choose to live their lives." He also called Winston Peters out during the third reading of the bill, describing his rhetoric as the “biggest shyster speech” he has ever heard.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Tuesday, 8th April 2014 - 8:39am
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