National party leader Don Brash today made a quiet visit to the well-attended Big Gay Out in Auckland's Coyle Park, carrying with him a message of caring. "It is my first time here," he acknowledged, speaking to GayNZ.com. "I decided it was important that I made it clear to gay and lesbian people that the National Party is as interested in gay and lesbian people as we are in straights." He denied that his visit was an olive branch to the glbt community, following his shaky record on supporting glbt legislation like the Civil Union Act and his vote in favour of United Future's failed anti-gay Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill. "An olive branch implies I've been at war in the past, and I don't really want to imply that," he said. "But certainly, I'm not here to be aggressive that's for sure." Brash's visit was rumoured to include a speech to the crowd, which did not transpire, although he did tour the Coyle Park grounds accompanied by fellow Nat MPs Pansy Wong and Georgina te Heu Heu. Impassioned speeches were left for Labour MPs Georgina Beyer, Maryan Street, and Chris Carter, who told GayNZ.com that he was "intrigued" by news of Brash's presence. Beyer reminded the crowd that Brash hadn't supported the Civil Union Act, and all three MPs took the opportunity to say that Labour had a proud record of supporting human rights for glbt people. Prime Minister Helen Clark sent her apologies for not attending, the first time she has missed a Big Gay Out, as she is attending an international summit in South Africa.
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Sunday, 12th February 2006 - 12:00pm
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