10AM: Dick Hubbard has confirmed to GayNZ.com that he did co-sign a letter to MPs as Mayor of Auckland suggesting gay parents statistically are more likely to abuse and murder their children. The letter urged MPs to vote down the Civil Union Bill "for the children of New Zealand". Interviewed at the GABA mayoral forum before the election by GayNZ.com, he said he had “no problem with the Civil Union Bill”. He repeated the assertions in a televised interview with the Queer Nation programme. He now says he sees no inconsistency in his position. "I had no problems with the concept of it, but at that stage there was certainly no detail out about what was involved,” he says. “And I hadn't realised or understood the implications as far as children are concerned, and that was why I was putting my name to that letter. I don't see that as an inconsistency." The Civil Union Bill passed its first reading in Parliament in July. There had been significant public discourse surrounding it in the run-up to the local body elections. Hubbard claims now there were only "vague references" made to it. Hubbard also stands by assertions in the letter that gay parents are more likely to abuse and murder their children, even though the statistics quoted do not mention gay parents. “They're broad-ranging statistics, and they're part of the argument that's been put up over the protection of children,” he says. When asked what he would say to the gay and lesbian voters who supported him based on his public affirmation of the Civil Union Bill, Hubbard responded that he supported National MP Richard Worth's amendments to the Bill, which only surfaced in the last week of debate, as he feels they "covered what the gay community wanted, but gave more emphasis and protection on the family side." MPs resoundly rejected Worth's amendments last night, which would have stripped the Civil Union Bill of any ceremonial provisions and extended it to include brothers and sisters. National's deputy leader Gerry Brownlee, who is opposed to the Civil Union Bill, also voted against Worth's amendments, saying they were based on "a very strange concept". In response to questions that gays and lesbians might be insulted and betrayed by the assertions he has made about them as parents, Hubbard says he's willing to discuss it with them. "As I said I'm the listening mayor, the accessible mayor, and if a representative group wants to come and see me, more than happy to do that."
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Thursday, 9th December 2004 - 12:00pm
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