Speaking at the opening of the National Marriage Equality Conference in Wellington last evening Fran Wilde, who helmed the hard-won 1980s fight for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, called for the community to ensure it supports Wall, especially in her electorate of Manurewa where, she says, media reports make it seem like the entire Polynesian population is against her.
Headlines out of South Auckland in recent weeks have focused on gatherings such as the anti-gay gathering of Tongan churchgoers and the campaigning against marriage equality by Wall's fellow Labour MP from the neighbouring Manurewa electorate, Su'a William Silo. Both electorates have a high proportion of residents of Pacific Island origin whose strong allegiance to their conservative Christian churches is engendering opposition to equality for glbti people.
The lack of a visible pro-equality presence in South Auckland could create even more of a groundswell against the Marriage Equality bill and her promotion of the bill could hurt Wall's chances of being returned to Parliament at the next general election. Wilde urges Aucklanders to attend rallies and events against Wallâs legislation and to stand up for her, to make it clearer she has a community behind her.
Seeking to emphasise the positive, Wall noted that opposition to glbti progress is, however, not universal in South Auckland. âWe love our takataapui whanau, we love our faâafafine whanau,â she says she was told by people who approached her on a visit to Otara Markets on Saturday. âYouâre being so brave, we support you, well done,â she says they said, thanking her.
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