Parliament is losing two conservative party MPs who belied their parties' traditional stance on homosexuality issues to vote in favour of the Civil Unions legislation. National MP Katherine Rich, who today announced her intention not to stand at the next election, was one of only three National MPs to break ranks and vote in favour of the Civil Union Bill. Rich, a list MP based in Dunedin, has been a notable social liberal within National's ranks and one of the few women to rise to its front benches in recent times. Just months after voting for Civil Unions she ran foul of then National leader Don Brash, for failing to support his attitude to welfare issues, and was dumped by Brash from National's Welfare portfolio. Brash voted against Civil Unions after previously indicating to the gay community that he would support the legislation. NZ First MP Brian Donnelly, who it has been announced will leave Parliament to become New Zealand's new High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, was another conservative party MP who supported Civil Unions. During the legislation's first reading he said to the House: "how will my own marriage be diminished by the passage of this legislation? The answer, and I am convinced it is the correct answer, is it will not make one iota of difference. "I will be voting for this legislation. In doing so, I hope I will be able to light the candles of many New Zealanders who, for so long, have been forced to live in the dark." Donnelly later suggested that whether glbt New Zealanders should have the right to legal relationship recognition should be put to a national referendum, but he eventually voted in favour of the legislation.
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Wednesday, 13th February 2008 - 2:41am
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