With marriage equality coming to the fore in 2012, we have seen the very best, the very worst - and some utter ‚Äėwhat the?‚Äô - moments from our elected and unelected representatives.
Who were 2012‚Äôs heroes, and who were its villains? And who are we not sure about? We usually list politicians amongst our New Year's Honours and Dishonours, but this year we're giving them an awards category all of their own.
Kevin Hague, Greens.
For getting it done, and done, and done.
Hone Harawira, Mana.
For listening to his party's membership.
This is a simple one: Kudos to Hone Harawira for listening to Mana Party faithful and voting for the marriage equality bill, despite his own conservative leanings on social issues.
For righting his wrongs.
Tau Henare has always been a straight shooter, and this has sometimes led him to insert his foot firmly into his redneck mouth. In the past we have been pretty disappointed in his mocking of campaigns against the derogatory use of ‚Äėthat‚Äôs so gay‚Äô as '(snigger) a gay story.' And his snide ‚ÄėDriving Miss Daisy‚Äô taunt at gay Labour MP Charles Chauvel. However, this year Henare has stood up for glbti rights in Uganda, spoken out in favour of marriage equality and even pressured the Speaker to allow a marriage equality conference to be held in the Legislative Chamber of Parliament.
Paul Hutchison, National.
For the Speech of the Year.
We wish all our politicians would put as much thought and integrity into the decisions they make.
John Key, National.
For quietly powerful leadership on an important issue
John Key‚Äôs Obama-inspired change of heart on marriage equality and consequent direction to his MPs to be consistent in their voting paved the way for many National MPs to commit to voting favourably on the issue. It was timely and crucial to the cause, especially with his common-sense approach that he couldn‚Äôt see how two people of the same sex getting hitched could have any impact on his and Bronagh's marriage.
Jan Logie, Greens.
For standing up for the downtrodden.
Louisa Wall, Labour.
For facing the slings and arrows of bigotry with grace.
Wall must also be commended for the work she has done in standing up for glbti rights globally.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, National.
For the astonishing trifecta of blatant dishonesty, willful ignorance and blind stupidity.
In another lowlife moment, Bakshi bare-face lied to a Tongan church protest in Auckland, claiming that "the majority of the National Party MPs voted against this bill."
For showing her (true?) thorns.
What ever happened to lovely Maggie from the garden show,
who once earned brownie points by publicly fronting up at glbti and HIV causes?
What has made her wilfully wallow in the political manure heap, most
disgustingly mocking Jan Logie‚Äôs support for transgender prisoners ‚Äď then
ducking for cover when we tried to question her further.
We hope Maggie is spending a bit of time in the garden smelling her roses and thinking about what she has done to some of those glbti folk she once walked amongst.
For letting his own side down.
John Hayes, National.
For the most ridiculous speech of the year.
The bowtie-clad John Hayes stumbled and fumbled his way through his speech at the first reading of the marriage equality bill, ran out of time, was told off and then finished ‚ÄúSo they want me to vote against the bill,‚ÄĚ claiming he‚Äôd listened to his constituents. He then refused to even attend a constituency debate on the issue and left Conservative party leader Colin Craig to speak against equal marriage instead.
John Key, National.
For playing to the baying, homophobic crowd.
Sometimes he gets it right on the button as a socially progressive man of his times... then he puts on his clown face and becomes Key the Joker... dishing out a school-yard bully-boy ‚Äėgay red top‚Äô insult on one radio show, and having a snide mock wedding with a man in a dress on another, complete with a pat on the ass to seal the deal.
Less of the mincing and mockery and more of the enlightened leading please Mr Key.
The entire New Zealand First caucus.
For sheep mentality.
They all voted against the marriage equality bill because they were told to, so Winston Peters could make an un-related point about an un-needed referendum. Some of the NZ First MPs were in favour. And really their bloc voting was pointless anyway as the first reading passed by such a majority. Just a whole waste of time and needless puffery from Mr Peters. If Peters ambled up the ramp towards the killing chain would they follow? We suspect they would. Baaaaa.
[Name withheld], [party withheld]
For hypocritically dumping on those who have the courage and honesty to be openly gay.
He may be closeted but nearly everyone in the house and many of us out here in the glbti community know he's gay. So we all watched with increasing disgust as he voted against marriage equality, thus giving succour to homophobes by reinforcing their unhealthy view that he and the rest of us are lesser and undesirable beings. Not everyone has the ability to be out but only a sad few go so far as to freely advocate repression of their own kind.
And, yes, he isn't the first mixed-up, hypocritical, closeted MP to deny equality to their fellow gays. But by happenstance the other, even stranger, fellow currently in the house was out of the voting picture this time round.
Su‚Äôa William Sio, Labour.
For misrepresenting the Pacific community.
And then he proudly attended a hateful Tongan church protest where men held signs saying "Lesbi/gay copy ... animals" and illiterately described any MPs who support marriage equality as "mantally sick".