Same sex marriage has a huge, witty, articulate supporter in the form Maurice Williamson.
The New Zealand MP delivered a sharp, crowd-pleasing speech in front of parliament yesterday in support of the country’s recently passed Marriage Amendment bill.
New Zealand recently became the first Asia-Pacific nation to extend all the legal rights of state-recognized matrimony to two people who love each other and also happen to share the same gender.
Williamson tackled some of the more extreme reactions of the anti-gay marriage movement and highlighted the ridiculousness of their arguments.
“I’ve had a reverend in my local electorate call and say the ‘gay onslaught’ will start the day after this bill is passed,” he began.
“We are really struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like,” Willamson continued. “We don’t know if it will come down the Packuranga Highway as a series of troops or whether it will be a gas that floats in over the electorate and locks us all in.”
He also took on some of his electorate's more metaphysical fears.
“One of the messages that I had was that this bill was the cause of our drought… Well, in the Packaranga electorate this morning it was pouring with rain. We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate,” he said to rousing applause and laughter.
But the bulk of his parliamentary address managed to straddle that tricky line between humour and poignancy.
"All we are doing with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognized by way of marriage," he said during one of the more serious moments of his speech. "We are not declaring nuclear war on a foreign state; we are not bringing a virus in that could wipe out our agriculture sector forever."
Not surprisingly, YouTube video of Willamson’s speech has gone viral, proving intelligence and wit are still alive and flourishing – even in government.
And his "big gay rainbow" now takes its rightful place in the lexicon of homophobic boogeymen.