Two New Zealand members of parliament (MPs), Kanwaljit S Bakshi and Su'a William Sio, have participated in a protest against marriage-equality that included people with placards likening gay people to animals.
Protestors in South Auckland, New Zealand yesterday (27 October), carried handwritten placards saying ‘lesbi/gay copy ... animals’ as well as saying any MPs who supported the bill to legalise same-sex marriage were mentally ill.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, of the National Party, is a member of the parliamentary select committee that will consider public submissions for and against the Marriage Amendment Bill.
Labour's Su'a William Sio, caused an uproar in his party when he claimed Labour would lose Pacific Island votes if the party acted to legalised gay marriage.
Busloads of Tongan Christians arrived in South Auckland, a poor neighbourhood of New Zealand’s largest city, and Sio’s constituency.
The New Zealand Herald quoted protester Aisea Kaifa who addressed the crowd and stated that New Zealand should learn from the lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah.
While a Mana Party member Kereama Pene also addressed the crowd and ended his speech with a reference to ‘Adam and Steve’, which was met with applause and laughter.
Bakshi and Sio also addressed the audience stating they oppose same-sex marriage receiving applause.
As Bakshi sat on stage, speaker Alani Taione from the Tonga Development Society criticized MPs who supported the marriage amendment bill and referred to the New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key as ‘John Gay’.
Bakshi later told the New Zealand Herald ‘You can see the sentiments of the people ... they are 100 per cent against this amendment’. He said that other MPs should change their minds and vote against marriage equality and that ‘most ethnic MPs opposed gay marriage’.
Sio, addressed protestors and stated ‘Many New Zealanders will say: “What's the big deal?”
‘You and I don't necessarily have to defend that, because you and I have a perspective that is perhaps beyond most people's perspective.’
Bakshi and Sio have previously expressed objections to a private member’s bill by Labour MP Louisa Wall which proposed, in July 2012, defining marriage to be inclusive regardless of gender.
The bill passed its first reading on 29 August 2012, 80 votes in favor to 40 opposed (with one abstention, and was sent to a parliamentary select committee for closer scrutiny and public input, of which Bakshi is a a member.
The committee is required to report back to the House by 28 February 2013.
Polls conducted in May 2012 indicating 63 percent of New Zealand voters support support same-sex marriage.