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Turia says no to gay next-of-kin rights

Wed 8 Dec 2004 In: New Zealand Daily News

Maori Party leader Tariana Turia has delivered a stinging rebuke to the Maori gay and lesbian community by saying that she does not accept gay couples even having next-of-kin rights, let alone a civil union. Turia was responding to a letter supported by more than 100 Maori gays and lesbians who attended a three-day health and wellbeing hui at Auckland University's Waipapa Marae last weekend. The letter urged Turia to show her support for Maori gays and lesbians and their families, and to vote in favour of the Civil Union Bill. “I do not accept next-of-kin rights can be held by those without whakapapa to the whanau,” Turia responded. “These rights act against the collective rights of whanau. Marriage and civil unions do not have their genesis in kaupapa. They are both laws driven by others, in the interests of individuals rather than the collective.” Te Herekiekie Herewini, a spokesperson for the hui, said the hui participants believed that Ms Turia's stance on the issue was one of vital importance to takatapui (gay and lesbian Maori) as members of their whanau. "We also believe that a vote against the Bill serves to reinforce and condone the homophobia that exists within our community. Homophobia that has resulted in takatapui being rejected and isolated when they are most vulnerable" he said.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 8th December 2004 - 12:00pm

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