Labour's chief whip has denied accusations that Labour MPs who wished to support the dumped anti-gay Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill were put under pressure to vote against it. United Future MP Gordon Copeland, who sponsored the bill, told Christian radio station Radio Rhema that Labour MPs who wanted to support the bill would have put their own future within Labour in jeopardy if they had voted against the wishes of their party whips. Tim Barnett, Labour's chief whip, says no pressure was put on, nor was there any need to. "Pressure happens in the political environemnt sometimes, but certainly not on this one," he told GayNZ.com. "I can honestly say I didn't pressure one person. I explained my viewpoint to two or three who approached me to understand, but I didn't put pressure on any one of the Labour MPs." Barnett says the bill's supporters were using the legally unnecessary bill to try and relitigate civil unions, attempting to get issues back on the agenda which had been successfully dealt with. But in the end, "the politics didn't work, and neither did the practicality of the bill," he says. In the wake of his bill's defeat, Copeland has not just been blaming the Labour Party. He told National Radio on Thursday morning that instead it was National and NZ First MPs who were to blame for the bill's demise. "Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders today are going to feel betrayed that 12 members of the National Party and 2 members of NZ First, when it came to the crunch, were not prepared to unequivocally say, that marriage should be for future generations be between one man and one woman," he said.
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Friday, 9th December 2005 - 12:00pm
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