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Gore's first civil union couple fears violent reaction

Mon 8 Feb 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Two men have committed to each other in what is thought to be the first civil union in the small South Island town of Gore - but fears over a violent reaction from locals mean the couple will not go public with details of their special day. Homophobia fears: Welcome to Gore Reporters at Gore newspaper Newslink tell they offered to record the occasion with a positive and celebratory article, but were convinced by the couple's family that 'coming out' publicly in the paper could lead to homophobia against them. "I'm so proud of my brother and for what he's doing, but you don't understand what could happen to them if they went public with this," said the sister of one of the men, who Newslink agreed not to name. "The family felt it would be dangerous, actually physically dangerous," a reader with relatives in Gore confirms. "It's just not safe. It's easy to forget that New Zealand is not all like Auckland and Wellington." The couple's union took place in late January. The town of Gore, population around 12,000, became notorious in the late-1990s as it was dubbed 'Gay Gore' by TV presenters Mikey Havoc and Jeremy Wells. In retaliation, the then-Mayor Mary Ogg banned the comedic duo from the town. The title was ironic as Gore had never seemed gay-friendly. A later mayor told The Southland Times in 2007 that Gore was "inclusive, receptive and accepting" of gays and lesbians.    

Credit: Daily News Staff

First published: Monday, 8th February 2010 - 3:44pm

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