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Political leaders attending Big Gay Out

Thu 25 Jan 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

Three of the country's heavyweight political leaders from both sides of the political divide have confirmed they will be attending this year's Big Gay Out picnic and fair day in Auckland. Prime Minister Helen Clark, long a supporter of gay and lesbian initiatives, will attend, as will self-acknowledged conservative Christian Mayor of Auckland Dick Hubbard. Both have attended the Hero Festival event previously. But a first-timer official guest will be National party leader John Key. The National party has had an up and down relationship with the glbt communities in recent years... then-Prime Minister Jenny Shipley attended one of the last Hero Parades in the late 1990s and the Human Rights legislation which saw many equal rights for gays entrenched in law was introduced and passed in Parliament during a National administration. Bill English as Prime Minister appeared disconnected from glbt issues and although his successor Don Brash seemed to at times be privately at ease with gay and lesbian initiatives he preferred to pander to the Christian right by voting against the important Civil Unions legislation. Key is on record as being firmly supportive of equality for gays and lesbians in New Zealand law and society (see link below). Also expected to attend the February 11 event are a number of the nation's 'rainbow MPs' and a several straight politicians are understood to have indicated they will drop by. Confirmed entertainers for the day include Big Gay Out veteran Mahinarangi Tocker, Queen of the Whole Universe performers and Boyband, who are re-forming especially for the Big Gay Out.     Ref: (j)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 25th January 2007 - 12:00pm

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