MP asks gay couple ‘who would be the wife’ during select committee into legalizing same-sex marriage
A gay couple who presented to the select committee considering the legalization of same-sex marriage in New Zealand is calling for the MP who asked them who would be the wife if they married to be sacked.
Veteran gay rights activists Des Smith and John Jolliff said they were grossly offended by National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi’s question, Gay NZ reports.
‘It was insulting, offensive and bigoted,’ said Jolliff. ‘He’s clearly not competent to work on this bill. I think he has got very set ideas which come from ignorance and an unwillingness to learn. He has got to go.’
‘It’s clear he doesn’t understand either marriage or human sexuality,’ added Smith.
The couple, who were the first to have a civil union in New Zealand in 2005, wrote to the chair of the select committee, MP Ruth Dyson, questioning the competence of Bakshi to serve on the committee and asking ‘are there facilities for on the job training open to him?’
The letter reads:
‘We neither expected nor appreciated the insulting question from Mr Bakshi as to who would play the husband and who the wife should we gain the right to marriage… Mr Bakshi is of course entitled to his views on the Bill and his opposition to it has been evident in the public arena. For his prejudices, or perhaps his ignorance, to surface during a Select Committee hearing is we believe unacceptable… It would be possible to conjure up several words to describe the nature of his questioning eg intrusive, discourteous, offensive, silly, unwarranted, inappropriate etc.’
The letter also mentioned that Smith and Jolliff were ‘perturbed’ to read that Prime Minister John Key defended Bakshi’s questioning, saying he was ‘just doing his job’.