Thursday, December 02, 2004
(This is a guest post from Keith Ng, Salient news editor and student media political correspondent. Apparently, he's on the inside.)
I was in the Press Gallery for the CUB debate today. The minute I walked through the door, I was greeted by the Herald's Audrey Young, who asked whether I was from the NZ Chinese Times. "Err... what?", came my eloquent reply. Then she explained the tie-and-jacket dress-code, and how my Matt-Nippert-inspired bogan attire didn't cut it.
It was an auspicious and entirely appropriate start for my term as Some Guy in the Press Gallery for the Aotearoa Student Press Association (coming to a student magazine near you in 2005).
Pastor Brian Tamaki was on his way out when I entered Parliament. His Holiness was impeccably dressed and generously greased, as always. The crowd was small and quiet, especially when compared with the Prostitution Reform last year. But it was pretty evenly - and very clearly - divided.
As for the speeches, even though nothing new was said, it was said very well. Stephen Franks managed to convince me that his rejection of the CUB was about not giving Margaret Wilson the power to marry everyone.
George "Loverboy" Hawkins talked of love and romance, and how everyone deserves to have it recognised, etc. The fact that it was *actually* rather sweet just made it more disturbing.
Wayne Mapp suggested that the CUB be put to a referendum, then spent his 10 minutes arguing for direct democracy, which leaves one wondering what his job in the House of Representatives is, if all decisions should be left to the people.
Tim Barnett lamented that, after thirty years, he's still being called a "practising" homosexual. (Maybe he'll get it "straight" one day. Ahem. Sorry.) He recalled some funny stuff from the submissions, like one that claimed homosexual Arab terrorists were roaming the mean streets of Christchurch lobbying for the CUB. Some not-so-funny stuff, too, like a 12-year-old who thought homosexuals deserved to die.
Interestingly, of the ten speakers I heard, the only woman was Georgina Beyers (and rumour has it that she use to be a man). Maybe this whole thing doesn't affect women?
The speech of the day went to Brian Connell, who denounced the "mistruths from the HOE-MOE-SEXUAL! community". (Ironically, the way he said it reminded me of Tim Curry's "I'm just a sweet TRANS-VES-TITE")
Connell described HOE-MOE-SEXUAL! relationships as "notoriously volatile", and the CUB as a "recruitment drive" for the HOE-MOE-SEXUAL! community. Judging from the laughs, he had the best received speech of the day.
Connell's punchline said it all: "Despite all the talk, I have no antipathy towards ho-mo-sexuals."