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Two gay gaffes from National baffle Labour

Wed 22 Sep 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

As political campaigning heats up seven weeks out from the General Election, misjudged gay-related comments from National campaigners are concerning Labour's openly-LGBT candidates in two high-profile electorates. Gay gaff: National's Stephen Franks At Friday night's campaign launch for Nelson's incumbent National MP Nick Smith, Labour cabinet minister Dr. Michael Cullen's sexuality was twice questioned for comic effect, reports the Nelson Mail. Comparing Dr. Cullen to openly-lesbian Labour candidate Maryan Street, local radio host Kent Robertson described them both as middle-aged, grey haired, spectacled and "slightly feminine." National's deputy leader Bill English followed this up by recounting a chat with Dr. Cullen ahead of a TV appearance, when Cullen had allegedly commented "I must try harder at being the token heterosexual in Caucus." Street later told the Nelson Mail that the comments regarding Cullen's sexuality were "ludicrous", and warned that National "will find the wrath of the electorate on them," if they continue to campaign in such a manner. Meanwhile, a YouTube clip featuring a recent discussion between two Wellington Central contenders – Stephen Franks of the National Party and openly-gay Grant Robertson of Labour – has re-ignited controversy over remarks made by Franks over the Civil Union Bill. Mentioning the debate over the Bill – which Franks voted "no" to – Robertson reminded the National candidate of his comment "I love my dog but that doesn't mean I should be able to marry it." Franks himself admitted saying at the time that he was "sick of grumpy Christians and whining gays." The clip was broadcast on TVOne's Agenda programme on Sunday, and appears below. Franks was on the defensive on his blog following the broadcast, saying Robertson was "feigning hurt from deceptive claims from a gay newspaper," and describing him as "a gay activist" whose supporters "have tried to paint me as homophobic."    

Credit: Daily News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 22nd September 2010 - 10:06pm

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