New Zealand Daily News
PM Key standing down after mixed glbti record
By Daily News staff
5th December 2016 - 01:42 pm

Prime Minister John Key, who voted against Civil Unions but in favour of Marriage Equality has announced he is stepping down as PM and leader of the National party.
John Key at the 2013 Big Gay Out with Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and Miss Ribena

In 2004 Key, the MP for the conservative and largely rural Helensville electorate, voted against the Civil Unions Bill which nonetheless was passed, enabling same-sex couples to legally formalise their relationship.

Soon after US President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage Key was questioned on the matter and appeared to change his stance,saying he was not personally opposed to marriage equality. This was seen by political commentators as a helpful signal to other National MPs that it was relatively safe to vote for such legislation. It was passed by with a healthy majority in Parliament.

Since becoming PM in 2008 Key has been a regular, though sometimes controversial, attendee at Auckland's Big Gay Out, shaking hands and speaking from the stage of his party's commitment to glbti equality.

It is likely that deputy PM Bill English will step up to become the new Prime minister and to lead the National party into next year's general election. English, a conservative Catholic, has consistently voted against equal rights against gays and in 2007 threatened with legal reaction when the site's news service revealed that, with his apparent knowledge, his son had been posting anti-gay abuse on the internet.

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